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PA Security Force spokesperson claims that missing men were feared to have been “kidnapped by settlers or criminals” to cover up their arrest by PA Police

Headline: "The security services call on the media outlets to wait for the results of the investigation of the disappearance of the three young men"
   “Police Spokesman Luay Erzekat yesterday [April 10, 2016] called on the media not to rely on reports on social networks regarding the three young men, who disappeared more than a week ago. Erzekat said in a statement to WAFA (i.e., the official Palestinian Authority news agency) yesterday: 'A week ago the families of the three young men notified the police of the disappearance of their sons under unclear circumstances. Searches were carried out, and two days ago, following the searches and investigations, we received initial information regarding the location of the young people, in the village of Aroura, north of Ramallah.' He stated that they have begun to interrogate the three young men, in order to clarify the details of their disappearance, and called to wait for the results of the investigation and rely on the publications of the security services, government, and police spokesmen. The three, who disappeared on March 31 [2016], are young men from Bethlehem, Jenin, and Hebron: Bassel Al-A'araj, Haitham Al-Sayyaj, and Muhammad Harb.  [Official] Spokesman of the [PA] Security Forces Adnan Al-Damiri told WAFA that the Security Forces and volunteers carried out searches in the mountains and cities, after the families of the three young men notified of their sons' disappearances. He added: 'The Palestinian Security Forces feared that the young men were kidnapped by settlers or criminals, until they received information of three young strangers in the village of Aroura. We went there, the young people were caught, and their families were told that the Palestinian security services have them.' He also said that very soon, at the end of the investigations, the matter will be explained, and warned against attempts to take advantage of citizens' distress for party interests (hinting at Hamas, which attacked the PA over the detention of the three young people –Ed.). President of the Shari'ah court in Nablus and father of one of the young men, Sheikh Abdallah Harb… called ‘on all the media outlets not to be taken in by the Israel version,’ in a statement to the Ma'an news agency. He noted that it is 'early to pass judgment on the whole matter.' He said… that according to initial information all that was found in their possession was personal belongings, clothes, food, and drink, which they carried in handbags, and that even the taxi drivers who transported them said so.  Harb added: 'First of all, I thank Allah that my son is alive. What preoccupied all of us was to find out what happened to our sons. He emphasized his faith in the security services and their tremendous efforts to find them."

The three young men who were arrested, Bassel Al-A'araj, Haitham Al-Sayyaj, and Muhammad Harb, planned to carry out a terror attack in Israel and were arrested by the PA Security Forces. The Al-Hayat Al-Jadida article makes no mention of this, showing how much the PA tried to hide its security collaboration with Israel from the Palestinians, because it draws so much criticism and provides Hamas with material to use against them.

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