Over the past few weeks, there has been a wave of crime in the Chareidi city of Modi’in Illit and it is suspected of being perpetrated by Arab thieves coming from nearby Palestinian villages. The suspects have been tearing holes in the town’s security fence and entering the city in order to steal from private homes. Thus far, there has been no real response from the IDF or the police. On Tuesday morning, local residents gathered together in order to protect their homes and succeeded in apprehending a number of infiltrators.
The first infiltrator was spotted at around 3:00AM, having entered via a hole in the security fence. A second Arab was located several hours later. They were both handed over to the police, who placed them under arrest.
As a result of the break-ins, many residents instituted a local patrol which they are calling Ha’Shomrim, a volunteer patrol force comprised of young men who are all residents of the city itself.
One of the new group’s volunteers told reporters: “We’re happy that Ha’Shomrim now exists, and we’re determined to do our job properly.” However, he stressed that “although up until now, those Arabs who have broken into the city undoubtedly came to steal from the residents, they could equally have been terrorists planning attacks. In fact, several have been armed with tear gas canisters, and there have also been reports of infiltrators armed with knives, though that hasn’t been confirmed. The response of residents here has been incredibly supportive. After several months of break-ins, about eight or nine such incidents, we realized that we would have to take matters into our own hands, as there had been no IDF or police response to people entering the city via holes in the security fence.”
He added, “The municipality wasn’t entirely on-board but after a few weeks we straightened things out with them and now they’re doing all they can to support us.”
A police statement noted that: “Police forces operating at enhanced strength against attempts to break into the city of Modi’in Illit heard cries from a private yard. A police unit sent to the scene located a Palestinian suspect in the yard and arrested him.
“A short while later, another report was received regarding a Palestinian suspect who had been apprehended by a number of local residents. Police forces who arrived at the scene identified the suspect who was wounded and he was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)