Security boosted in wake of Jericho raid

Mofaz instructed the IDF to step up targeted killings and other operations in the W. Bank.

jericho prisoners 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
jericho prisoners 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has beefed up its security surrounding government ministers and other public figures out of fear terror groups would try to assassinate senior officials in response to the Jericho prison raid. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz instructed the IDF on Thursday to step up targeted killings and other operations in the West Bank in an effort to thwart terrorist activities, including retaliatory attacks for the Jericho raid. "The Jericho operation sent a clear message to the other side that Israel will not compromise when it comes to its national security principles," Mofaz said during a security consultation at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. "We will demonstrate resolve until we achieve our goal." Last April, members of a PFLP cell were arrested after they had planned to assassinate Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The Shin Bet has instructed members of the VIP Protection Unit to be more aware. senses and was in touch with security officers from the various government ministries to coordinate new security procedures. At the meeting, Mofaz decided to extend a closure imposed on the West Bank over Purim until at least next week with the possibility of continuing it until the end of the month. He also ordered IDF commanders to warn their soldiers about the threat of abduction by terror groups. "The terror organizations are constantly trying to perpetrate attacks," a security official said. "We need to be ready and we are bracing ourselves for the possibility they will either try to kidnap a soldier or assassinate a senior Israeli official." In advance of the elections, Mofaz decided security forces would deploy throughout the country starting on Sunday, March 26, to prevent the infiltration of terrorists and the disruption of the vote. "We need to ensure that terror will not influence the democratic process in Israel," he said. In addition, he instructed the IDF to open the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip starting Sunday to allow agricultural goods, food and humanitarian assistance in and out of Gaza. The crossing was meant to replace the Karni Terminal, which was recently closed. The Palestinians have refused to use the Kerem Shalom crossing.