Bennett: Security forces at high alert to stop terror wave

“We are in a period of ‘alert routine,’ in which we want the citizens of Israel to return to their routine and security forces to be at high alert.”

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen alongside Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, on April 3, 2022. (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen alongside Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, on April 3, 2022.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Israel’s goal is to break the wave of terrorism, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday during a tour of the security barrier.

“We are in a period of ‘alert routine,’ in which we want the citizens of Israel to return to their routine and security forces to be at high alert,” he said.

“It will not take one action but many hundreds of actions taking place all the time,” he added. “Together, we will make the effort to break this wave.”

Bennett’s remarks referred to Operation Break the Wave, which the IDF launched after three terrorist attacks by Palestinians and Arab-Israelis within a week killed 11 civilians, and Israelis were wounded in other terrorist attacks. Over the weekend, security forces stopped terrorists from Jenin who were planning an attack.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said the IDF must be prepared for “Guardian of the Walls 2,” referring to last year’s operation in Gaza along with Israeli-Arab violence.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen meeting with Shin Bet officials on April 3, 2022. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is seen meeting with Shin Bet officials on April 3, 2022. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

“The IDF is preparing to be on high alert for a month or even more,” Kohavi said, according to Channel 13.

Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Director Ronen Bar and the agency’s Samaria Division, as well as OC Central Command Brig.-Gen. Yehuda Fox briefed Bennett on the situation, including efforts to find warnings of future terrorist attacks.

“Terrorists have all kinds of ideas, which is why we are on super alert to identify every spark of an idea or a plan of a terrorist attack and to prevent it in advance,” Bennett said.

Bar said the Shin Bet was working in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and online.

Bennett spoke on the phone with Jordanian King Abdullah on Sunday, continuing a series of contacts between leading Israeli officials and the king in recent weeks to discuss ways to promote stability ahead of Ramadan, which began on Saturday.

Bennett sent the king, his family and the Jordanian people best wishes for Ramadan and thanked Abdullah for speaking out against the recent terrorist attacks.

Abdullah “reaffirmed the importance of ensuring comprehensive calm to prevent any tensions or escalations in the Palestinian Territories,” his office said in a statement. “King Abdullah stressed the need to stop any measures that could cause violence, escalate the conflict and undermine the prospects of peace.”

Abdullah also called for ensuring that Muslims can pray at al-Aqsa Mosque unimpeded during Ramadan.

They agreed to keep in contact and said cooperation between their countries was important, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abdullah in Amman last week, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited him in early March.

The Shin Bet said the operation in which they killed three members of a terrorist cell and arrested another stopped a major terrorist attack in central Israel. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists had switched the license plates on their car from Palestinian to Israeli ones to sneak into sovereign Israel through a gap in the security barrier, Channel 12 reported.

The Shin Bet set up a roadblock, and the terrorist cell tried to drive away, but the agents shot at the car. One of the terrorists shot back using an M-16, wounding four agents, and severely wounded another agent.

The Shin Bet stopped 14 terrorist attacks in the last four months, according to the report.

Clashes broke out between Palestinians in the West Bank and the IDF on Sunday morning. One Palestinian man was injured, according to Palestinian media. Israeli security forces reportedly used crowd dispersal methods to break up the clashes.

Egypt condemns “Israeli escalation in Palestinian territories and storming of settlers into Temple Mount,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry tweeted Sunday.

Palestinian and other Arab media often call visits by Israelis to Judaism’s holiest site “storming” by “settlers.” No violent incidents involving Jews were reported on the Temple Mount on Sunday.

Cairo also called on Israel to adhere to international law to prevent violence and allow Palestinians to celebrate Ramadan in Islamic holy sites.

The condemnation came a week after Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry participated in the Negev Summit along with Lapid and ministers from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the United States.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav said the military was ready for any possible escalation amid the ongoing wave of terrorism.

“We are looking at Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and even Sinai,” he told Ynet following the launch of Operation Break the Wave. “We are operating far and wide and have deployed our air-defense systems. The Gaza Division is prepared to defend on the ground. We will continue to thwart attacks and act with determination, creativity and all that is necessary.”

Lapid said “this is a difficult period, a tense period, but we have police who we can trust to get us through this complex time.”

During a visit to Jerusalem Police headquarters and the Damascus Gate, Lapid said he was proud of the force.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the police are prepared and ready in the field to secure Ramadan events in the coming weeks.

Breaches in the West Bank security barrier, such as the one through which the terrorist who killed five people in Bnei Brak last week entered Israel, are nothing new, former Israel Police Supt. (ret.) Shlomi Michael told Army Radio.

“The fence has been neglected for years,” he said. “These breaches were not created yesterday. We need to invest in budgets now and be better prepared.”