IDF beefs up West Bank forces to counter terror attacks
After shooting attacks, battalions deployed to man checkpoints, patrol highways to prevent further Hamas terror during peace talks.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF increased its forces in the West Bank last week following a number of shooting attacks and amid assessments that Hamas will continue to trying to perpetrate terror attacks as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks continue.Two battalions were transferred to the West Bank last week and were deployed along the roads to man checkpoints and patrol highways in an effort to prevent additional shooting attacks.RELATED:After shootings, West Bank police on highest alertLast week, four Israelis were killed in a shooting attack near Kiryat Arba. Two more Israelis were wounded in an additional drive-by shooting near Ramallah.Palestinian Authority security forces have launched an unprecedented wave of arrests throughout the West Bank, rounding up close to 300 Palestinians affiliated with Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the Wednesday’s deadly hit.IDF assessments are that Palestinian terror factions will continue trying to carry out terror attacks over the coming months in an effort to torpedo peace talks launched in Washington last week.A Hamas spokesman told the Al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday that the group intends to continue its attacks on settlers because they are “legitimate targets.” Azat al-Ghashek reportedly said that “Zionist settlers” made up an entire army living on occupied land, with a large cache of weapons at their disposal.He made the comments during an interview, adding that the peace talks were nothing but a “media circus.”On Thursday, Reuters reported that 13 Gaza militant groups have joined forces to launch a wave of attacks against Israel.When asked if the renewed attacks would include suicide bombings, a Hamas spokesman reportedly answered: “All options are open.”Also on Thursday, Hamas condemned the launch of direct talks, saying their goal is to “liquidate” the Palestinian cause, and accused Abbas of allowing Israel to build settlements in the West Bank and denying the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return.”
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