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(photo credit: IDF)
A day before Defense Minister Amir Peretz planned to ask the cabinet to transfer NIS 50 million to the Palestinians, IDF troops outside of Nablus thwarted a suicide bombing on Saturday by capturing an explosives belt that was on its way to be used in an attack inside Israel.
The IDF reinforced its operations near Nablus over the weekend. On Saturday, soldiers from the Haruv Battalion discovered a 10-kilogram explosives belt inside a Palestinian car, ready for use and waiting to be given to someone who was supposed to smuggle across the Green Line. Border Police sappers destroyed the belt in a controlled explosion.
On April 17, a suicide bomber killed ten Israelis after detonating an explosives belt he was carrying in a Tel Aviv restaurant.
"Inside Israel, things are quiet, but not in the territories," said Gilad, deputy commander of the Haruv Battalion. "Terrorists are constantly operating in Nablus and our goal is to keep pressure on the city to prevent the terror from spilling into Israel."
The explosives belt found Saturday, a senior IDF officer said, was intended to be used in a suicide bombing in an Israeli city this week. Together with Jenin, the city of Nablus - an Islamic Jihad stronghold - is currently the source of most terrorism, the officer said. Over the weekend, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) recorded more than 90 terror alerts, including over 15 concrete terror threats.
Earlier Saturday, IDF soldiers discovered three pipe bombs, ready for use, inside a Palestinian taxi near Ramallah. On Friday, troops conducting an arrest raid in Nablus shot and killed a 26-year-old man who had opened fire on them.
Also in the West Bank, police said that settlers broke into a Palestinian-owned quarry in Hawara south of Nablus on Friday and set fire to several caravans there. Several Palestinians were injured after they were allegedly attacked by the settlers. Police said that tracks were found leading to the nearby settlement of Bracha.
Settlers rejected the accusations. "We are not connected to the fire at the quarry," the settlement's leadership said in a statement.
In a separate incident on Friday, IDF troops and the Samaria Regional Council's Search and Rescue team extricated the body of a Palestinian woman from a three-story house near Nablus that had collapsed after a gas canister exploded inside.