Senior IDF officers meet PA counterparts

Israel demands end to terror attacks, projectile rocket fire into Israeli areas.

idf 88 (photo credit: )
idf 88
(photo credit: )
A security coordination meeting was held on Wednesday evening between the IDF Head of the Strategic Planning branch, Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Harel, and Gen. Jamal Abu-Zihad, the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Interior for National Security Affairs. On Wednesday morning, IDF Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, met General Suliman Hilas, his Palestinian counterpart. The meetings are part of a continuous effort to further security cooperation between the IDF and the Palestinian security apparatuses. Coordination meetings between the two sides are held regularly on the field level, and occasionally a meeting is held on the general staff level. During the meeting this evening between Harel and Abu-Zihad, the Israeli side demanded an end to terrorist attacks and projectile rocket fire into Israeli areas. In addition, both sides discussed methods to improve security cooperation, in addition to security issues in the operation of the crossings. Meanwhile, IDF soldiers manning the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus insisted that they had prevented a powerful bomb attack inside Israel, after nabbing a 28-year-old Palestinian carrying an explosives belt on Wednesday afternoon. However, shortly after sappers blew up the belt they examined the remains and found no trace of explosives. While samples were taken for testing, officials did not rule out the possibility that the Palestinian was taking it elsewhere to be filled with explosives in preparation for an attack. The Palestinian aroused the suspicion of Military Police deployed at the checkpoint and was stopped for inspection. One of the soldiers checking him spotted the belt that had been wrapped up in a cloth and placed inside a bag he carried. Immediately the checkpoint was shut down and Palestinians distanced from the area, as Border Police sappers were called to detonate the bomb. According to an IDF officer at the site, the belt had six pouches, which they believed contained explosives. Even though it later proved to be a dummy, the officer praised the rapid response of the soldiers, insisting that he believes the belt was destined to be used in an attack. In an attempt to fool security officials, the Palestinian at first insisted he was 16 years old, but further checks revealed his real age, security officials said. He told soldiers at the site that he had been instructed to hand over the bag to someone on the other side. He was handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning. During the period the checkpoint was shut down, scores of Palestinians waiting at the site clashed with soldiers demanding to be allowed through. The situation forced soldiers to throw stun grenades in order to quell the tempers. After the bomb belt had been dealt with and the Palestinian taken away, the checkpoint was re opened. According to the army, in the past two months, security forces have thwarted over 15 attempts by Palestinians to smuggle bombs, weapons and ammunition through the checkpoint. Wednesday's attempt is just further proof of the intense attempts by terrorists operating in the area to launch attacks, the officer said. The situation requires the army to wage a constant battle to quell the terror, and proves the necessity to maintain checkpoints in the West Bank in order to monitor the situation, the officer said. On October 20, a 15-year-old Palestinian was caught attempting to smuggle two knives and a mortar shell through the checkpoint. In August, a 17 year old Palestinian was caught carrying a bomb ready for use and a hand gun that were hidden in a bag he carried. Two days before that, a 14 year old Palestinian was arrested after soldiers found two pipe bombs in a bag he carried. Elsewhere in the West Bank, security forces arrested 6 Hamas fugitives in raids in the Ramallah and Hebron areas.