Israel cracks down on Hamas in West Bank after deadly attack

Security forces arrest 25 Palestinians in sweeps amid high tensions in Jerusalem, West Bank.

IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017.
Israeli security forces cracked down on Hamas members, arresting 25 Palestinians across the West Bank.
On Sunday morning, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced the arrests included several higher-up officials in cooperation with the IDF as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that tensions do not escalate into more violence.
“The wave of detentions, which included a number of senior Hamas figures, was part of the preventive efforts of the Shin Bet security service and the IDF against the terrorist organizations, particularly during the past week and due to the tension surrounding the Temple Mount and unrest in the area,” the Shin Bet said.
On Saturday, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said the IDF and other security agencies were working to prevent further deterioration of the situation on the ground, which is seeing a worsening trend of increased support for attacks among Palestinians.
“There is more and more support for violence as days go on and more potential attackers,” Manelis said, stressing there’s a new aspect that hasn’t been seen in other attacks since the wave of violence broke out two years ago.
“There is more consensus and support for this attack among Palestinians and more legitimization on the streets,” he continued, adding that “there is a dangerous dynamic now, and we are working to make sure that there is not another attack like the attack in Halamish on Friday night.”
Three Israeli civilians were stabbed to death in Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) by a Palestinian who confessed to carrying it out because of the “desecration” of the Temple Mount.
The attacker, Omer al-Abed, told investigators he supports and identifies with Hamas.
The terrorist group later praised the attack as “heroic” and “necessary.”
Prior to the attack, three Israeli-Arab terrorists killed two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount, which led authorities to install metal detectors at the entrances to the compound.
At least four Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in demonstrations since Friday against the installations, including one on Saturday night in the village of Eizariya. According to Maan News, the fatality was identified as 23-year-old Yousif Kashur from Abu Dis.
Demonstrations also took place in Gaza on Friday, leaving several Gazans wounded from Israeli fire.
The Shin Bet’s crackdown came as a rocket launched from northern Gaza hit southern Israel.
While the army had earlier stated that the rocket exploded in Gaza shortly after it was launched, it later confirmed it had landed in Israel and was located in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.
While there was no damage or injuries, the army is investigating why the warning system did not pick up the launch.
Several rockets were launched from Gaza this year, most recently in June, claimed by small jihadist groups. Israel nonetheless holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fire coming from the strip.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot addressed the current situation while speaking to draftees Sunday at the induction center in Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan. He told the soldiers they are entering the army in a “very complicated and volatile time.”
The chief of staff addressed the rocket fire, saying it attests to the explosiveness of this period, both from Gaza and from the West Bank.
“Should war break out, our task is to win decisively, to achieve clear results and to push back the next war for many years,” Eisenkot said.
“The security situation is quiet, but it is very complex and volatile, and things can develop very quickly.”
He added that Friday’s deadly attack “teaches something about the threats we are dealing with.”