(photo credit: )
A day after a suicide bomber was caught on the
Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, security forces on Wednesday recorded 13 concrete terror alerts and stepped up their activities in the West Bank to prevent additional infiltrations.
Early Wednesday, a special IDF unit caught another
potential suicide bomber in Ramallah. The bomber was arrested with two accomplices, and all three were members of the Fatah Tanzim.
Palestinian terror groups led by Islamic Jihad were in the midst of planning anti-Israel attacks with the goal of disrupting the general elections set for next Tuesday, senior security officials said. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Iran had recently transferred $1.8 million to the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank to fund the radical group's terror activity.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security
Agency) continued interrogating the suicide bomber
caught Tuesday on Highway 1 near Sha'alvim.
Officials said it was likely that the bomber, who was being driven by an Israeli-Arab taxi driver to the center of the country, had entered Israel by taking advantage of either the lax security at official border crossings with the West Bank or by exploiting parts of the Jerusalem envelope fence still uncompleted.
"We are taking into account the possibility that
terror groups will try to perpetrate an attack to
disrupt the democratic process," said Jerusalem Police chief Cmdr. Ilan Franco. "They might try to do this before the elections or on Election Day itself."
Meanwhile Wednesday, IDF troops shot and killed an
Islamic Jihad operative in the Akhbar Jaba refugee
camp near Jericho. During the operation, Nahal Haredi forces surrounded three buildings in the refugee camp, in which, according to intelligence sources, three Islamic Jihad fugitives were hiding. Two of the fugitives were captured during the raid.
Another Palestinian was shot and wounded by IDF troops later in the day after he threw rocks at a military force in the southern Hebron Hills. An Israeli woman was also injured after rocks were thrown at her car near Kalkilya.
As part of the effort to crack down on Islamic Jihad, the IDF recently decided to solidify its positions surrounding Nablus. In January, the army initially thought it would be able to lift a closure it had imposed on the city but OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh recently decided to beef up the forces outside the city and to continue operating within the nearby refugee camps.
Also Wednesday, the Kerem Shalom crossing - located at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip - was opened for the first time as an international commercial crossing.
The crossing was opened to allow for the transfer of humanitarian aid and basic supplies into the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
The Karni crossing was also opened for commercial
activity for the second day running after it had been closed for close to two months due to terror warnings.
Egypt is sending the Palestinians 7,000 tons of food, mostly wheat, rice and sugar through Kerem Shalom, said Salim Abu Safiah, director-general of the Palestinian border authority.