IDF sends reinforcements to West Bank amid Jerusalem violence

Security forces on Friday increased their alert level and sent more than two and a half extra battalions for reinforcements after two terrorists were killed.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi holds a  situational assessment at the Salem base in the Menashe Regional Brigade, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi holds a situational assessment at the Salem base in the Menashe Regional Brigade, Sunday, May 9, 2021.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF has sent an additional three battalions to the West Bank to reinforce four already in the area, following violence in Jerusalem and overall heightened tension in the area.
The decision by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi was made following a situational assessment held at the Salem base in the Menashe Regional Brigade. It was attended by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Rassan Aliyan, OC Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf and OC Civil Administration Brig.-Gen. Fares Atila.
The additional forces have been deployed with the aim of strengthening troop readiness, with an emphasis on strengthening defenses over the Seam Line.
 IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi holds a situational assessment at the Salem base in the Menashe Regional Brigade, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi holds a situational assessment at the Salem base in the Menashe Regional Brigade, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Israeli security forces on Friday increased their alert level and sent more than two and a half extra battalions to reinforce troops after two Palestinians were killed earlier in the day and a third was seriously wounded after they opened fire toward the Salem base in the northern West Bank.
Yadai called it “a major attack” that was “prevented thanks to the sharp, determined and professional combat efforts of the Border Police officers.”
The three gunmen, all armed with knives and improvised Palestinian-made Carlo submachine guns, opened fire on the gate of the Salem base before they were shot by Border Police officers. There were no casualties among the Israeli forces. The third Palestinian attacker was evacuated to Emek Medical Center in Afula.
During his visit to the base, Kohavi thanked the Border Police for thwarting an attack that “could have affected the situation in the entire country.”
The IDF had already bolstered forces for Ramadan, concerned that violence might erupt. But the deadly shooting attack and a rare statement threatening Israel by Mohammed Deif, commander of Izzadin al-Qassam, the so-called “military” wing of Hamas, caused the IDF to prepare for a range of possible scenarios, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday evening, COGAT announced it would close the Gazan fishing zone following a series of security assessments after rocket fire and the continued launching of incendiary balloons toward southern Israel.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Ashkelon on Sunday evening. One was intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system, and the other fell in open territory.
Some 39 fires were sparked on Sunday due to the balloons.
The move will take effect immediately and will last until further notice, the IDF said in a statement.
“The terrorist organization Hamas is held accountable for all that is done in and from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel, and it will therefore bear the consequences for the violence committed against the country’s citizens,” it said.
More than 200 Palestinians and 17 police officers were injured on Friday in the worst violence in years in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered to mark the last Friday prayers of Ramadan at the Aqsa Mosque compound.
Saturday night and Sunday morning, at least 100 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem after more than 90,000 worshipers visited al-Aqsa Mosque to mark Laylat al-Qadr, which commemorates the night that Muslims believe the Koran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
Palestinian groups, including Fatah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have all threatened Israel. According to the Lebanese Al-Akhbar daily, Hamas has rejected a message sent by Israel via Egyptian mediators that called on the terrorist group to prevent a further escalation of violence.
Incendiary balloons launched from the coastal enclave have started dozens of fires in the South. According to Palestinian media outlets, the “night confusion units” have resumed rioting along the security fence. One rocket fell in a field. The IAF retaliated by striking a Hamas post.
The IDF had been expecting more violence from Gaza on Saturday and believes that despite Hamas and Islamic Jihad threats, terrorist groups in the blockaded coastal enclave are more deterred than was thought.