IDF clamps down on West Bank after deadly terror attacks

Kalashnikov automatic weapons used in the Givat Asaf terror attack was found as well as one of the soldier’s weapons stolen by the terrorist.

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December 16, 2018 12:02
3 minute read.
Israeli soldiers walk during clashes with Palestinians in Ramallah in the West Bank, 2018.

Israeli soldiers walk during clashes with Palestinians in Ramallah in the West Bank, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

 
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The IDF continued to clamp down on the West Bank, arresting dozens of Palestinians as security forces continue to search for a Hamas cell believed to be behind a string of deadly attacks which claimed the lives of three Israelis.

Troops were reinforced in the West Bank on Thursday with soldiers from the Golani Brigade and  the Nahal Brigade.

The military believes that the overall atmosphere in the West Bank is tense, and security forces have warned that Hamas is trying to carry out terror attacks with guidance from Gaza, Turkey and Lebanon.

Last Sunday, a Palestinian terrorist linked to Hamas shot and injured seven Israeli civilians at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement. Among the wounded was a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely. Her baby boy died three days later.

On Thursday, two soldiers were killed after a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a bus stop outside of the outpost of Givat Assaf – a short distance down Route 60 from Ofra – and fled the scene with one of the soldier’s weapons. A third soldier, Netanel Felber, remains in serious condition at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

The IDF cleared for release on Sunday that the Kalashnikov automatic weapons used in the Givat Asaf terror attack was found as well as one of the soldier’s weapons stolen by the terrorist at the scene of the attack.

“Security forces will continue their operations to capture the terrorists involved in the recent attacks,” read a statement released by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.

An investigation into the two attacks within a week has shown that a single Hamas terror cell was responsible. While it is believed that Salah Barghouti acted as the shooter and his relative Wa’ad Barghouti drove the getaway car in the Ofra attack, another cell member is believed to have carried out the Givat Assaf attack.

Salah Barghouti, the son of a prominent Hamas member, was shot and killed Wednesday after he tried to attack troops while escaping arrest, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. Several additional Palestinians have been arrested in the villages of Surda and Silwad.

According to Palestinian media, undercover soldiers arrested his relative Mohamed Maher Barghouti in the village of Kobar near Ramallah overnight Saturday.


Former defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon attributed the increase of terror attacks in the West Bank over the past week to the “weak” stance Israel took during the recent flare up in violence with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Our weakness in the South, which began with the [incendiary] kite, led to attacks in Judea and Samaria,” Ya’alon told Army Radio on Sunday, adding that “we should’ve hit Hamas hard when it flew the fire kites into our territory. This was a violation of our sovereignty, and it needed a tough response.”

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, IDF troops also distributed leaflets in the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, warning residents to stop throwing stones at vehicles driven by Israelis.

The leaflets, the report said, threatened to impose financial penalties as well as the cancellation of work permits for relatives of stone throwers.

Also on Saturday, some 50 settlers held an illegal demonstration on the outskirts of Ramallah; three were arrested after they began throwing stones at Palestinian homes. Two soldiers from the IDF’s ultra-Orthodox 97th Netzah Yehuda Battalion attempted to release them, leading to their suspension.

On Sunday, the head of the IDF’s Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan signed a demolition order for the apartment of the terrorist who murdered Ari Fuld in September, which is on the top floor of a three-story building in the West Bank city of Yatta.

Fuld, 45, an American-Israeli, was stabbed to death by 17-year-old Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin in a terrorist attack in the central West Bank on September 16. A resident of Efrat, he was stabbed to death outside a shopping mall at the Gush Etzion junction near his home.

The terrorist’s family has until December 18 to appeal to the High Court of Justice.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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