image Photo: Flash90, Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Bennett visits wounded security officers

The members of the Yamam Israel National Counter-Terrorism and the IDF “Duvdevan” Special Operations Units were wounded during an arrest operation on Saturday of Palestinian terrorists planning an imminent attack

By Erin Viner

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Rambam Health Care Campus Hospital in the northern city of Haifa, to convey his personal best wishes to the officers.

The two, who can only be identified by their ranks and initials, are Sergeant-Major T, Master Sergeant A and Israel National Counter-Terrorism Unit Squad Commander Chief Superintendent S.

According to a statement obtained by TV7 from the Prime Minister’s Foreign Media Advisor, the pair spoke to the Israeli leader about the counter-terrorism operations that they participated in over the weekend, including rescue operations under fire.

Israeli security forces came under fire during an arrest raid n the northern West Bank as they closed in on wanted terrorists driving near Jenin. Hand grenades, ammunition and weapons including at least one automatic rifle branded with an IDF insignia planned to be used against Israeli civilians were discovered hidden in their vehicle.

Three Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists were killed in an exchange of gunfire.

Israeli Border Police said the cell had “been involved in terrorist activity against security forces recently, and was apparently on its way to another attack.” The Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet), called the three PIJ gunmen “ticking time bombs” who were responsible for at least one terror shooting against Israeli forces in the West Bank and were planning to carry out several additional attacks in the immediate future. They had been under surveillance in the hours leading to the clash.

Chief Superintendent S. of the elite counterterrorism Yamam Border Police Unit and has been described by the Prime Minister as “one of Israel’s finest field commanders” involved in “hundreds of confrontations and battles,” was severely wounded after sustaining a gunshot wound to the chest. The 43-year-old was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam, where he was placed in an induced coma after undergoing emergency surgery. He woke up the following day and his condition has significantly improved. .

Prime Minister Bennett thanked the officers “for the important action for the security of Israel and wished them a complete recovery and a quick return to routine.”

“Today, I met S, T and A, brave and determined fighters who dedicate and risk their lives for the greater whole,” said the Premier following the visit.

He added that he was “deeply impressed by the fighting spirit that they showed over the weekend, for engaging the enemy and their readiness to risk their lives for the security of the state.”

“On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to wish them a quick recovery and thank them, and all of the forces that are working around the clock in order to provide security for the citizens of Israel. These are Israeli fighters and I have no doubt that with fighters like these we will win,” he said.

Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai, and the commanders of the Israel National Counter-Terrorism Unit, IDF Commando Brigade and the Rambam Hospital Director General also participated in the visit.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi revealed yesterday that the nation’s intelligence services have succeeded in foiling “at least 10 terror attacks” over the past two weeks.

Victory in preventing the attacks “is a testament to the professionalism, courage and determination with which IDF units act in order to overcome terror,” the military chief underscored.

Arab terrorists murdered 11 people in a number of separate attacks across Israel last week. In the sharpest spike of terrorism in years, a Bedouin Arab murdered four people in a stabbing and car ramming attack in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on 22 March, followed by the deadly shooting of two victims by two Arab gunmen in the central city of Hadera on 27 March. Israeli authorities said all of the assailants, who were killed during their deadly attacks, were loyal to Islamic State terror group. Five other people were shot to death in Bnei Brak on 29 March in an attack that was not claimed by any armed group, though residents of the West Bank village of Ya’bad linked the assailant to the Fatah party lead by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Tensions have risen over the rise of attacks in the run-up to Saturday’s start of Ramadan, a period during which violence has spiked in the past.

Near-nightly clashes between Arabs and Jerusalem police during last year’s observance of the Muslim holy month  prompted full scale fighting with Gaza when Palestinian terror groups based in the territory fired more than 4,000 rockets at the Jewish State during the ensuing 11-day  Operation Guardian of the Walls last May.