Israeli forces detained a popular Palestinian wedding singer and his band members during predawn raids in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah today, reportedly over a video released by the group applauding Omar Al-Abed, who has been indicted for carrying out a deadly stabbing attack in July that left three Israeli settlers dead.
Local sources in Beit Rima said Israeli forces raided the village overnight and detained the singer, Muhammad Barghouthi, and his band’s organist Naji Rimawi. Israeli forces also raided the nearby village of Kafr Ein and detained the band’s audio engineer Nazzal Barghouthi.
An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed only one detention in Beit Rima, and one in Kafr Ein. She added that one detention was also carried out in Al-Abed’s hometown of Kobar, but it remained unclear if the detention was related to the video.
The raids came a few days after the band produced a Bedouin-style song glorifying Al-Abed for infiltrating the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, which is located near Kobar, and carrying out the stabbing attack.
The deadly incident took place on the Day of Rage when three Palestinians were killed during demonstrations which erupted in occupied East Jerusalem after Israeli occupation forces installed high tech surveillance systems and metal detectors at the doors of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Al-Abed announced on Facebook his intentions to carry out the attack as an act of retribution for the Israeli measures and the ensuing violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Since the attack, Israeli forces have demolished Al-Abed’s family home and targeted Kobar in multiple military raids, while six of Al-Abed’s family members, including his mother, face charges of having advanced knowledge of the attack.
“I heard the sound of the machine gun in the Arab village Kobar…it’s Omar who crossed the woods and carried out the operation,” the lyrics to Muhammad Barghouthi’s song said.
“Hey you, who asks about real men, you will find them in Kobar… Omar Al-Abed is an earthquake who took revenge on behalf of Al-Aqsa… he came from above the mountains carrying a knife on his side, and when he announced the clash, he made the Zionists lie on the ground… even if they detain my mother and my father, and demolish our home, we will never wear clothes of disgrace,” the song continues.