IDF beefs up troops in West Bank as Palestinian terror attacks continue

Earlier on Thursday, a border police officer was lightly wounded in an attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, just hours after 12 Israeli soldiers were rammed by a car.

Security footage showing the shooting attack on the Temple mount (credit: Israel Police)
The Israeli army has reinforced troops after three attacks against IDF troops in less than 15 hours as violence continued in the West Bank in response to the release of US Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” last week.
The military on Thursday afternoon announced that an extra battalion will be sent to the West Bank following a “situational assessment.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi visited the city of Bethlehem and held a situational assessment with the Head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan, the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf, and the Commander of the Etzion Division Brig.-Gen. David Shapiro and other senior commanders.
"We have no intention of allowing terrorism to succeed,” Kochavi said. “Our  directive is very clear to all troops on the ground- to thwart and prevent all terror activity. When I say terror, I also mean the throwing of rocks, Molotov cocktails, explosive balloons... All of  these are terror. The message is clear, not this attack, not the bombings, not the firing of the rockets, all these acts- will not succeed. The IDF is being targeted by the Palestinian arena in recent weeks, and we will respond sharply and clearly to all these attacks. "
After landing from his trip to Washington, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett held a situational assessment at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv and announced that the IDF would boost its forces in the West Bank and implement a “more stringent equation” in response to the incendiary balloons being launched from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Hours earlier a border police officer was lightly wounded in an attack on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to police, the man from northern Israel opened fire with a 9mm pistol towards officers from outside the Temple Mount area, and lightly injured the officer in the shooting.  The terrorist was shot dead by other officers at the scene. The 38 year-old officer was evacuated to Shaare Zadek hospital with bullet wounds to his hand.
French MP Meyer Habib, who represents French expats in the eastern Mediterranean, including Israel, pointed out that the terrorist attack took place meters away from the Church of St. Anne, where French President Emmanuel Macron shouted at Israeli police officers guarding him, because they were entering French diplomatic territory.
"When you see how Israeli security forces responded quickly and neutralized the terrorist that shot at short range, we understand their determination two weeks ago when President Macron visited the site," Habib said. "Jerusalem is not Disneyland or the capital of the Care Bears. It is the capital of the State of Israel."
Early on Thursday morning a group of Golani soldiers were at the First Station, a popular entertainment spot on the city’s David Remez Street, during a heritage tour ahead of their swearing in ceremony at the Western Wall when they were struck by a car at high speed.
The terrorist, 24 year-old Khaled al-Tourman from East Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood was later caught by security forces in the evening after a large manhunt near Beit Jala where the car was found.
Meanwhile, in Jenin, two Palestinians, including a policeman, were killed in early morning riots which broke out as  IDF troops demolished the home of a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the death of Rabbi Raziel Shevach in September 2018.
According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, 19 year-old Yazan Abu Tabikh was killed after IDF troops opened fire at rioters who had been clashing with troops. The policeman was identified as Sergeant Tarek Badwan.
Zilberman said that Palestinian snipers had opened fire on the troops who had been safeguarding the unit carrying out the demolition and that IDF troops returned fire towards the snipers.
According to him, a Palestinian sniper cell has been recently shooting at IDF troops in Jenin and  the military had anticipated that troops may come under sniper fire during the demolition and had therefore brought a team of Israeli snipers to the operation.
Seven others were also seriously wounded in the riots which broke out during the military operation to demolish the home had been previously destroyed but had been rebuilt by the family.
Footage shared by Palestinians on social media showed the moment that Badwan was hit by IDF fire while standing in uniform inside a police station in Jenin. The footage did not show Badwan appearing to be a threat to Israeli soldiers or the operation when he was shot.
The Israeli military said it is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relayed a warning for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following Wednesday and Thursday’s terrorist attacks: “It won’t help – not stabbings, not rammings, not the lashing out and not the incitement.
“We will do all that we need in order to protect our security, establish our borders and ensure our future. We will do it with you or without you,” he stated. Netanyahu spoke while on a security briefing on the Tunnel Road from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion in the West Bank.
“This is where the ramming terrorist drove by, and it is only a matter of time – not a lot of time – until we get our hands on him,” he said.
Earlier, Netanyahu visited the soldiers injured in the car-ramming attack at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and wished them a speedy recovery.
“I am praying with you for your sons’ recovery and all of Israel embraces you,” Netanyahu said on the phone to the parents of the soldier severely injured in the ramming attack.
In response to the attack, Blue and White head Benny Gantz tweeted that he is "praying for the healing of the Golani soldiers" and "trusts the security forces to capture the lowly terrorist and hold him accountable for his actions.
"Terror should not be allowed to raise its head, neither in Gaza nor in Judea and Samaria," Gantz concluded.
President Reuven Rivlin expressed similar sentiments, adding that, "we will fight [terrorism] without compromise."
The Knesset plenum will hold a special session on Monday on the recent wave of terror attacks. The meeting was requested by the required 25 MKs.
There have been daily clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the West Bank since the release of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan last week. While the IDF has been on heightened alert in the West Bank since the release and deployed additional troops to the area.
“We are experiencing a relatively violent week, and we recognize that there have been deaths,” Zilberman said about the West Bank. “There is a lot of friction and both sides are acting to restrain the violence.”
On Wednesday 17 year-old Mohammed al-Haddad was shot dead by Israeli troops as he threw a Molotov cocktail towards troops during clashes in Hebron. Riots also broke out in al-Bireh near Ramallah where Palestinians hurled stones and firebombs towards a convoy of IDF vehicles as it left the town following an arrest. On Tuesday a Israeli border police officer was lightly injured after he was hit by a firebomb which exploded into flames on him during riots in Hebron. The day before another IDF soldier in Hebron was hit by a Molotov cocktail.
Meanwhile in Gaza the IDF struck Hamas targets including a tunnel and underground logistics infrastructure shortly after midnight in retaliation for an earlier mortar attack and the launching of aerial improvised explosive devices towards southern Israel throughout the day.
There have been near-daily rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza over the past week. Dozens of explosive-laden balloons and condoms have also been launched from the blockaded coastal enclave towards southern Israel.
“We understand that Hamas is letting these things happen in the past few weeks, especially with the balloons, as well as looking the other way while others fire rockets and mortar shells,” Zilberman said, adding that “We won’t allow this situation with the balloons to continue.”