Security forces hunting for suspects after 3 explosive attacks in West Bank

Army source says Hamas's attempt to rally Palestinians in the W. Bank to launch a third intifada was met with a "very, very partial response."

August 31, 2014 15:31
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers in Nablus

IDF soldiers patrol in Nablus [file]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Security forces have launched a search for suspects after three explosive attacks occurred in Samaria on Sunday.

In the first incident, an explosion was reported at Rehalim Junction, near Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank, in an area used by Israeli hitchhikers. There were no damages or injuries in the attack.

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Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a police bomb disposal unit was dispatched to the junction, cordoned off the area, and ensured that there were no additional bombs around.

Shortly afterwards, Rosenfeld said, two pipe bombs were hurled at Jit Junction, near the scene of the first attack. The pipe bombs were thrown at a main road used by hitchhikers.

“These attacks might have been coordinated,” Rosenfeld said. “Border Police and the IDF are searching the area to see if there are additional explosive devices.”

Police and the army have heightened security in the area ahead of the start of a new school year, Rosenfeld added.

An army source told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that in recent weeks, Hamas attempted to rally the Palestinian population of the West Bank to launch a third intifada, and that this effort was met with a “very, very partial response.”

During Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, there was a tangible rise in the number of people participating in rioting, and the number of firebombings and rock throwing incidents nearly doubled.

Rallies were also held in West Bank city centers, in which Hamas flags were waved, though Palestinian Authority security forces contained those events, and some confrontations between PA police and pro-Hamas protesters occurred on the sidelines.

Over the past two weeks, the army has seen a drop in violent disturbances.

“Now we are seeing numbers that we were used to seeing before the summer,” the army source said. “I think the population of Judea and Samaria is waiting to see where the diplomatic process is heading before taking action. The Palestinian public is waiting.”

During Operation Brother’s Keeper, launched by the IDF in June in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas men in Hebron, the Islamist terror organization absorbed a “severe blow,” the source said, with the arrest of more than 400 members throughout the West Bank.

Additionally, the Shin Bet broke up a large Hamas formation that was about to launch major attacks on Israel, most likely during the Gaza War, he said. The terrorist infrastructure also hoped to launch a coup to topple the Palestinian Authority, according to a Shin Bet investigation made public this month.

Meanwhile, the IDF’s Central Command has returned the number of army units on the ground to routine levels.

In June, two extra divisions were deployed to the West Bank, and in July, the army kept an extra battalion on the ground.

“We are continuing to monitor events on the ground,” the source said.

The army is also preparing to dispatch extra companies to provide security during harvest season, which sees an increase in friction between Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, security forces are continuing their wide-scale hunt for the murderers of the three Israeli teenagers.

“We are in a waiting period,” the source said.

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