Col. Guy Berger, former commander of the paratrooper training base, has taken up his post as Ephraim Regional Brigade commander over the weekend. The brigade, operating under the jurisdiction of the IDF’s Central Command, is responsible for securing the Kalkilya region and covers most of Shomron Area.
Berger begins his role following a series of deadly terror attacks that have claimed the lives of Israelis in the West Bank. A senior IDF source told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday that although the upsurge in attacks is very disturbing, security forces have not identified an organized terrorist infrastructure behind any of them.
“To say that the whole of the sector is heating up isn’t true,” the source said. “The past 10 days, for example, have seen a decrease in rock-throwing attacks.”
Unlike Hebron and Jenin, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad have a strong presence, Kalkilya is not a terrorism center, the source added.
Berger replaces Col. Ran Kahana, who completed a two-year term as brigade commander and will become deputy commander of the IDF’s ground forces training center in southern Israel.
Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony held on Thursday, Kahana said his time as commander was filled with challenges in his quest to give local residents a sense of security and the ability to maintain routine life. “We had many successes as well as moments of pain and loss,” he said. Last month, IDF soldier Tomer Hazan was lured by a Palestinian from the area to the village of Beit Amin, where he was killed. The murder suspect was taken into custody soon afterwards.
The Ephraim Brigade’s area of operations includes the West Bank security fence, pedestrian and vehicle crossings, an industrial zone, and areas where clashes regularly break out, Kahana said. The brigade specializes in preventing terrorism and violence, he explained.
Berger said he welcomed the opportunity to protect the more-than-150,000 residents who live and work in the region, and he pledged to do everything possible to secure families in their homes and on the roads.
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon and Brig.-Gen. Tamir Yadai, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, attended the ceremony.
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