Israeli security forces disclosed tonight that they have broken up a major Arab resistance movement in Israel's lower Galilee region, arresting scores of Israeli Arabs linked to a fundamentalist Moslem organization.
Sources said about 60 Arabs belonging to a guerrilla organization called the Family of Jihad have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to conduct terrorist operations in colaboration with Fatah, the main guerrilla group in Yasser Arafat's Beirut-based Palestine Liberation Organization. Jihad is the Arabic term for extraordinary effort or the Islamic concept of "holy war."
Some of the suspects have already been arraigned before a military court in Ramle, sources said, and possibly dozens more will be charged formally next week.
A spokesman for the Israeli national police, while refusing to comment on details of the case, said "many" weapons were confiscated. Some of the weapons, the official said, were purchased fromthe Israeli underworld in Tel Aviv and Peta Tikva and are believed to have been stolen from Israeli Army bases.
The Family of Jihad, sources said, is closely allied with the Moslem Brotherhoold in Israel, which is primarily based in the lower Galilee town of Umm al-Fahm south of Nazareth. Sources said the group was fashioned closely after the Moslem Brotherhood movement in Egypt an Syria, with district commanders, religious leaders and weapons and operations leaders operating in a highly structured organization.
Israeli sources said the arrests have been made over several weeks. But Israeli censorship restrictions prevented disclosure of the raids until the Ramle military court appearances.
An Israeli police official said the group had planned numerous terrorist attacks inside Israel and had close links with PLO terrorist cells in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.