IDF braced for more West Bank violence after tense weekend

Soldier stabbed, Palestinian killed in clashes with IDF.

By
December 15, 2018 19:09
Soldiers and emergency worker gather following clashes between an IDF soldier and a Palestinian who

Soldiers and emergency worker gather following clashes between an IDF soldier and a Palestinian who threw a rock at his head . (photo credit: TPS)

 
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The IDF maintained extra troops in the West Bank Sunday as it braced for additional violence, after three terror attacks in less than a week, including one on Friday in which a soldier was stabbed.


On Saturday night the Palestinian who attacked the soldier by an army post next to the Beit El settlement turn himself into security forces.
"A fight broke out between the soldier and the assailant, who stabbed the soldier and struck him with a rock from a short distance. Evidence in the field indicates that the assailant was also injured in the struggle,” the IDF said.


The soldier, Naveh Rotem from the Kfir Brigade, is in stable condition at Hadassah Medical Center Ein Karem.


The army post is located just outside of the back entrance to Ramallah where the IDF has been operating this week in search of terrorists, with links to Hamas, who have been behind the recent terror wave.


Clashes between the IDF and Palestinians broke out in multiple locations across the West Bank on Friday, after the Palestinian Authority called for a Day of Rage. 


In al-Bireh on Friday Mohammad Yousef Nakhleh, 18, was fatally shot and six other were injured in clashes with the IDF in al-Bireh, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA. He was buried Saturday in the Jalazone refugee camp, near Ramallah,.


Video posted on Quds Media showed relatives gathered in Ramallah next to the body of the young man. Later in the evening around 9 pm Palestinian protesters gathered in the Jalazone and clashed with Palestinian security forces as they tried to march toward Ramallah to pressure the Palestinian Authority to act. 


Al-Bireh and Ramallah held a day of mourning on Saturday.


“We are in a tense period,” Judea and Samaria Division Brigadier General Eran Niv said on Friday.


Still the Palestinian Authority and Hamas failed to generate large scale violence as Friday clashes, remained relatively small, with only hundreds participating.


Hamas had pushed for widespread disturbances across the West Bank, using social media to encourage an “explosion” in the West Bank. 


Hamas held rallies in Gaza to celebrate the 31st anniversary of its founding on Friday. It hoped to use these rallies to escalate tensions in the West Bank. This would gain it influence in negotiations with Fatah, the leading party in the Palestinian Authority, where it is trying to get an agreement that would end Hamas isolation in Gaza. 


Pro-Hamas media has blamed the Palestinian Authority for not supporting the uprising, posting cartoons and asserting that Palestinian security forces in Hebron were unusually rough on Palestinian demonstrators. 


Hamas sought to use Friday, a day when protesters usually emerge after Friday prayers, to galvanize the Palestinian public. The Palestinian Authority reacted with force in several places to prevent the Hamas-supported demonstrations from gathering steam. Only several hundred Palestinians emerged to confront the IDF at usual flash-points of friction, such as north of Ramallah. 


The IDF and Border police succeeded in dispersing rioters while Palestinian Security Forces also cracked down on pro-Hamas demonstrations.


On Thursday night the IDF launched an operation across the West Bank in response to the attack at Givat Asaf in which two soldiers were killed and another solider and a civilian were injured. 


According to a statement the IDF apprehended 40 suspects, 37 of them known as Hamas activists. 


According to Palestinian media Hamas activists were detained in Hebron, Ramallah, Azariya and other areas. 


Friday morning there were protests reported in Nablus and Tulkarem in which Hamas flags were seen. Palestinian Security forces clamped down on the rallies in Nablus and on a Hamas demonstration in Hebron. 


Women supporters of Hamas played a major role in Hebron, clashing with Palestinian police. Local media expressed shock that the Palestinian police used batons against Palestinian male and female demonstrators. 


By the afternoon, after prayers let out, demonstrators gathered north of Al-Bireh on the road that leads to the DCO checkpoint and Beit El. This is a frequent gathering point for demonstrations by Palestinian youth. The young men pushed dumpsters and tires into the road and ignited them. Near Jalazone, a village and refugee camp, more young men lit tires. IDF forces and Border police monitored the gatherings as they grew. Black smoke billowed skyward. Eventually the IDF used tear gas to disperse around 100 demonstrators who had gathered. In other areas of the West Bank, including near Nablus, around Tekoa and at Nabi Saleh, similar scenes took place.


Three Palestinians were injured in Hebron, including a journalist who was shot in the hand. Another three Palestinians were injured near the Huwwara checkpoint and one injured by rubber bullets in the village of Lubban Esharqia, south of Nablus.


On Friday night IDF troops carrying out operational activity in the Hebron neighborhood of Abu-Snina stopped a vehicle for inspection and found an M-16 assault rifle and an Uzi submachine gun, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in the statement.  The passengers in the car were detained by the troops and transferred to security forces for further interrogation.


Anger in the West Bank against the Palestinian Authority continued on Friday night as demonstrators in Dheisheh refugee camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem gathered to protest the Palestinian authority’s security coordination with Israel. In addition further clashes were reported at Kalandiyah checkpoint and in Isawiya in Jerusalem.


Palestinian activists on Saturday called for staging a sit-in strike inside the house belonging to the family of Saleh Barghouti, to prevent its demolition. Barghouti was killed by the IDF last week on suspicion of involvement in the Ofra shooting attack in which seven Israelis were wounded on December 9. 


The prematurely born infant of one of the women wounded in the attack died four days later. Barghouti is from the village of Kobar in the Ramallah area.


Separately in Gaza, protests continued along the border fence, with Gaza health officials stating that 75 Palestinians were injured by IDF fire.


An IDF spokesman said Gazans hurled rocks at soldiers and the security fence. A fire bomb and several grenades were also thrown, the spokesman said, though none of them crossed into Israel.


"Troops responded with riot dispersal means and operated in accordance with standard operating procedures," he said.


Palestinian activists on Saturday called for staging a sit-in strike inside the house belonging to the family of Saleh Barghouti, to prevent its demolition. Barghouti was killed by the IDF last week on suspicion of involvement in the Ofra shooting attack in which seven Israelis were wounded on December 9. 


The prematurely born infant of one of the women wounded in the attack died four days later. Barghouti is from the village of Kobar in the Ramallah area.


Meanwhile in Gaza, Palestinian WAFA news agency reported that IDF navy vessels shot and injured two fisherman and arrested four others off the coast of Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip after they strayed from the allowed fishing zone.


According to the report the fishermen had been sailing within the six-nautical mile fishing zone.


In the West Bank the extra battalions sent to reinforce the existing troops remained in place over the weekend and into Sunday. The IDF also maintained a closure on Ramallah, so that only city resident are allowed to enter and exit the city.


“The IDF, the Shin Bet security service and the police are  operating by covert and overt means in the Judea and Samaria to arrest those responsible for the attack last night at the Asaf junction,” Niv said on Friday.


“At the same time, we are working to prevent and thwart the next attack, while reinforcing the defense efforts in the roads and in the settlements,” Niv said.


He explained that security forces were taking extra measures to protect the roads and had reinforced 20 roadside areas with concrete barrier to protect civilians from attacks.


“We will continue to make every effort to protect the citizens of Israel,” he added.

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