Israel arrests 'journalist' tied to terror group

Palestinian Authority condemns arrest of PFLP terrorist, claims Israel targeting Arab journalists.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Arrest (illustration)
Arrest (illustration)

The Israeli Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) on Monday accused an Arab journalist arrested at the weekend of belonging to a terror group, after colleagues called for international support for his release.

Omar Nazzal, a member of the general secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), was detained by Israeli officials on Saturday at the border between Samaria and Jordan.

He was seeking to travel to a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Bosnia.

The Shin Bet service said in response to an AFP query that he had been recently appointed a director of Palestine Today, a TV channel declared illegal in February.

Shin Bet also clarified he was active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a Communist terrorist group responsible for some of the worst terror attacks in Israeli history, including the 1972 Lod Airport Massacre, the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001, and the decapitation of four worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue in 2015.

"Omar has for years been known to be a Popular Front activist: he was arrested now because of his involvement in current Popular Front activities," Shin Bet said in a written reply.

It said he was not detained because of his journalism but over "his involvement in terror group activities."

The PJS called on Sunday for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to intervene in Nazzal's case.

Union officials met an ICRC representative Sunday in Ramallah as journalists held a sit-in protest over the arrest.

"We explained to the ICRC that it was imperative to quickly visit Omar Nazzal," Musa al-Sher, general secretariat member, told AFP.

Nazzal's wife told AFP she did not know where he is being held.

"I have no idea of his fate since he told me by phone Saturday he was arrested by Israel," she said.

The Palestine Today offices in Ramallah were raided in March by soldiers after Israel accused it of incitement.

The Palestinian Authority’s Information Ministry on Sunday again accused Israel of targeting Arab journalists, saying that several local radio stations had also been raided in recent months.

Israel has worked in recent weeks to combat anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority, closing Hamas-affiliated media outlets.

AFP contributed to this story