Dramatic footage has emerged of plain clothes Israeli troops – known as “mustarabeen” – infiltrating a Palestinian demonstration in Ramallah and arresting stone throwers.
The soldiers, dressed as Palestinian protesters, were caught on camera by AFP journalists during a demonstration near the “DCO” checkpoint to the north of Ramallah, which is a frequent location for stone-throwing protests.
About 100 to 150 Palestinians were protesting near the military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank when a few dozen soldiers moved from further down the street towards the crowd.
Suddenly, several men wearing keffiyehs or balaclavas, including one with a Palestinian flag wrapped around his head, pulled out pistols. One threw a smoke grenade while others fired in the air. The army then rapidly moved towards the remaining protesters, who fled.
Israel’s military said forces including an undercover unit of border police carried out the operation. It said Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at its forces while rolling burning tyres.
Israeli forces regularly carry out such operations against stone-throwing protests, in which agents pretend to be demonstrators before turning on the crowd.
Four Palestinians have been killed in clashes or by Israeli airstrikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza. One Israeli was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.