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Gantz approves administrative detention for Islamic State suspect from Nazareth
Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order to hold an Israeli citizen suspected of being an Islamic State operative in administrative detention for four months, his office revealed Thursday.
According to the statement, the man is a Nazareth resident previously convicted of weapons offenses. Gantz made the decision upon the recommendation of Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar and in light of information indicating the suspect’s “extremism and support for the ‘Salafi Jihadi’ movement, which espouses the carrying out of military jihadist acts.”
The statement also cited his suspected backing of Islamic State’s “extremist ideology.”
The Defense Ministry said Thursday that Gantza also ordered seven residents of East Jerusalem to be held under administrative detention “in light of the recent security situation.”
Israel’s policy of administrative detention, which allows Israeli authorities to arrest those deemed to pose an imminent threat without charges or a full trial, is highly controversial. Israel contends that such means are necessary to fight terror, although rights groups say Israel abuses the practice. The practice is used primarily against Palestinian suspects, although it has been utilized against Jewish terror suspects in rare instances as well as Arab Israelis.
In response to several deadly terror attacks in recent weeks, officials have called for the widespread use of administrative detention to fight the wave of violence. Two of the recent attacks — in Beersheba and Hadera — were carried out by Arab Israeli terrorists with links to IS.
Last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed security services to hold any terror suspects in administrative detention, without charging them, as part of a broad campaign to thwart future attacks.
According to Bennett’s office, the premier said the controversial practice should be used “in appropriate circumstances in which it is possible to present a proper legal basis.”
The order came after Bennett met with top security officials for a situational assessment in the wake of the Hadera terror attack, the second within a week by Arab Israelis with ties to Islamic State.
Bennett stressed that it was “a new situation that requires suitable preparations and adjustment by the security services to the circumstances within which extremist elements of Arab society, directed by extremist Islamic ideology, are carrying out terror attacks and taking lives.”
The prime minister instructed that a number of measures be taken, including a continued extensive operational effort, through a variety of tools in all arenas, along with overt and covert investigative actions, the statement said.
Gantz vowed at the time that authorities “will act against those who assist terrorists and neutralize them.” He also stressed that, in general, Arab Israeli citizens are law-abiding, “and the exceptions among them should not be seen as the general rule.”