(JNS.org) Israeli police have arrested 18 Palestinian terror suspects this week in connection with their membership in a suspicious chat group on the popular messenger app WhatsApp.
The chat group, dubbed “The Road to Paradise,” included Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Ibrahim Mattar, who initiated a pre-dawn stabbing attack last week at the Lions’ Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. In the attack, Mattar, 25, stabbed two Israeli border guards with a large butcher’s knife. The terrorist was shot by the injured guards and later died of his wounds.
Arrests of the WhatsApp group’s members came a day following Mattar’s stabbing attack in the Old City. The Israel Police confirmed that the majority of the suspects were residents of Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Questioning of the group members by law enforcement has revealed that the group’s primary purpose was “to share religious materials,” and that all of its members “recently became more religious.”
Incitement on social media and the use of technology to enlist new terrorists has often been cited by Israeli officials as a major driver behind Palestinian terrorism, including the waning terror wave that began in October 2015.