Two days before the first anniversary of the Palestinian uprising, the Defense Ministry Wednesday said Israeli internal security service agents had arrested 610 Arabs linked to attacks in the occupied territories and Israel.
Several of the arrests had been known previously, but the announcement was the first revelation the Shin Bet internal security agency was involved in investigations of activities related to the popular revolt. Arrests disclosed before Wednesday were attributed to army security forces.The ministry, in its announcement, said the Shin Bet also exposed a number of groups responsible for violent attacks against civilians and groups of youths who forced merchants to observe strikes and other activities called by leaders of the popular revolt against Israeli occupation.
The Defense Ministry announcement said the arrested Arabs - all picked up since Oct. 1 - were suspected of carrying out 87 attacks related to the uprising, including a firebombing of a bus near Jericho that killed an Israeli mother and her three children.
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin praised the Shin Bet, which he described as performing its work "behind a curtain of secrecy."