Netanyahu and Litzman visit victims of Jerusalem terror attack.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Israel is currently facing a new type of terrorist phenomenon: lone terrorists who decide on the spur of the moment to carry out deadly attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
Netanyahu’s comments came during a visit to Hadassah University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, where he along with Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman visited some of the wounded soldiers from Sunday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem.
The hospital was on Monday treating four wounded from the attack. One soldier is in intensive care, another in moderate condition and two have light injuries.
Shaare Zedek Medical Center reported “some improvement” Monday in the condition of a female soldier who remains in serious condition in intensive care. The other four taken to the hospital were lightly injured and released.
Israel is working on three different planes to deal with this “lone wolf” terrorism, Netanyahu said.
The first is defensive: expanding the physical barriers, such as concrete blocks at bus stations, to prevent these types of attacks. He said that in the last year, Israel has erected many of these barriers at bus stops and hitchhiking posts in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.
“This has already saved lives, and yesterday the directive was given to expand this even more in Jerusalem, and possibly in other places as well,” he said.
The second plane is in the realm of preventive intelligence: “How do you know whether someone will do something like this, how do you know how to locate him beforehand?” he asked. “The security agencies have energetically been working on this for a full year.”
The prime minister said Israel is taking additional steps, which he did not detail, “to be in a unique situation where we can identify these situations in advance – something extremely important.”
And the third plane in dealing with these attacks is the quick response by soldiers and civilians.
“We saw this yesterday with the security guard, female officer and soldiers who acted swiftly to thwart a much bigger attack,” he said. His comments rebuffed some of the earlier criticism that the soldiers at the scene did not respond fast enough.
Netanyahu said that when he visited the three wounded soldiers in the hospital – two females and a male – they said to him that they want to return to the officer’s course they were part of, and return to service.
“That is the true secret of our state,” he said. “The reason we will win, and the reason we have won until now.”
President Reuven Rivlin, who began a two-day state visit to Georgia on Monday, referred to the attack in his opening remarks with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, saying, “Terrorism will never win, but will only strengthen our faith and commitment to Jerusalem.”
He noted that he arrived from Jerusalem: “The holy city, the eternal city, a city to which the Jewish people prayed to return for 2,000 years.”
Margvelashvili, in his comments, stressed the need for cooperation against terrorism.
He said that Islamic State is a phenomenon that threatens “the whole world, and we must share our abilities in order to fight them and all who threaten the world order. Fighting against terrorism with a strong and united hand will enable us to overcome it.”
Meanwhile, Israel Radio quoted a Palestinian Authority security source as saying the PA arrested an ISIS-affiliated man in Hebron who planned to carry out a car bomb attack in Israel. According to the report, the suspect was arrested two weeks ago and had been in contact with Islamic State through the Internet.
In addition, the report quoted the Palestinian Authority security source as saying the PA arrested 22 Islamic State-affiliated and Salafist men as a precautionary measure after Sunday’s Jerusalem terrorist attack, fearing that they could carry out attacks against Israel or the PA.
Security cooperation between the PA security forces and Israel is ongoing.
According to PA Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj, the PA security forces have foiled hundreds of attacks against Israelis over the past year and a half.Adam Rasgon and Judy Siegel contributed to this report.