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Israeli forces detain Palestinian police officer, family denies he was planning attack

May 14, 2016 6:36 P.M. (Updated: May 15, 2016 5:18 P.M.)
Photo: Israeli Police
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained a Palestinian police officer on Saturday afternoon near the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim in the central occupied West Bank outside of Jerusalem, on suspicion of “planning a terrorist attack.”

Shortly after news of his detention, the man’s family identified him as Muhammad Mustafa al-Najjar, 30, a police officer from al-Azza refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.

His family told Ma’an that al-Najjar was returning from his job as a police officer in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, and that they were “shocked” when they heard the news about his detention. They added that al-Najjar had started his job just one week ago.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli forces set up a checkpoint near Mishor Adumim after they “received information saying that the suspect left his house planning a terrorist attack.” 

When he arrived at the checkpoint in a taxi, Israeli police detained him, al-Samri said, adding that the suspect was carrying an Israeli police uniform. He was later transferred for interrogation.

“The (Israeli) police are inspecting the suspect's intentions of using the police uniform as it is suspected that he planned to use it in the terrorist attack he planned,” al-Samri added.

However, according to Ashraf al-Najjar, Muhammad's brother, Muhammad was carrying a Palestinian police uniform and not an Israeli police uniform.

Ashraf told Ma’an that he "doubts" the Israeli police's story regarding his brother's detention.

He added that his brother has been preparing for his wedding that is planned to take place next month, and does not take part in any organized activity beside his job as a Palestinian police officer.

Al-Najjar is a former prisoner and was released from Israeli custody about a year ago after completing a 10-year sentence, his family added.

Some 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has spent time in Israeli custody, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer. There are approximately 7,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons.

Photo: Israeli police
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