Tensions remain high in the West Bank, with Israeli security forces ongoing counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria by IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and police forces as part of Operation Waves Breaker in the wake of a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that left 19 people dead earlier this year.
By Erin Viner
A wanted terrorist was captured early yesterday in the West Bank village of Qabatiya near Jenin, a hotbed of terrorist activity. Palestinian gunmen barricaded within a residential building opened fire at the Israeli forces during the mission to apprehend the wanted suspect Following an exchange of live fire, the suspect ultimately surrendered, according to a statement from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Local sources identified the suspect as Alaa Zakarneh, a member of the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, who was conspiring to carry out an imminent attack against Israelis.
There were no injuries among Israeli security forces, who apprehended at least nine wanted suspects and seized illegal arms seized in additional raids yesterday.
In overnight violence, two ultra-Orthodox Jews were injured after coming under terrorist gunfire near Nablus while apparently attempting to pray at Joseph’s Tomb. A group of worshippers entered the Palestinian area without authorization by the IDF, which coordinates monthly visits to the holy site. They were rescued after being shot at by unknown gunmen, who also set their vehicle ablaze. The wounded Israelis were evacuated to hospital, one of whom was in serious condition.
According to a statement TV7 obtained from the IDF, army, ISA and Israel Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities overnight and this morning at a number of locations in Judea and Samaria, including the towns of Bethsaida, Illar, Atil , Dayr al-Ghusun , Zeita, Dayr Samet, Tamra, Sanur, Hizma, and Burqa. A total of twelve wanted suspects were apprehended overnight.
IDF soldiers conducted counterterrorism activity in the town of Bayt Ula and Idna and apprehended two wanted individuals suspected of terrorist activity. In addition, the soldiers operated in town of Bil’in and apprehended an additional wanted suspect. During the activity, a violent riot was instigated. The rioters hurled rocks and burned tires at the soldier, who responded with riot dispersal means.
Shots were fired and an explosive device was hurled at IDF soldiers in Jenin.
Three suspects were also apprehended in the city of Huwara; while knives and ammunition were seized in the towns of Al ‘Eizariya and Beit Ummar.
Despite the onslaught of Palestinian violence, no Israeli forces were reported.
“We have once again proven that there are no fortified terrorist cities in Judea and Samaria,” said the Commanding Officer of the “Shomron” Regional Brigade, Colonel Roy Zweig, pledging, “The IDF and security forces will continue to operate around the clock to ensure safety in the area.”
The latest military activities follow shooting attacks at two IDF posts on Saturday within a short time of one another. There were no casualties among the troops, who immediately launched manhunts for the gunmen.
One of the incidents occurred close to the northern Jewish settlement of Yitzhar by the Palestinian Authority city of Nablus.
The other was near the Jewish community of Ofra in proximity to central West Bank Palestinian village of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. A crowded Israeli passenger bus came under fire in the area by unknown suspects on 20 August. At least 8 bullets struck the windows and the carriage of the civilian vehicle as it traveled on the West Bank’s main north-south Route 60 highway in the Binyamin District, according to an IDF statement. Two Silwad residents have been arrested in connection to the crime.
An Israeli security vehicle sustained damage in an additional shooting attack near the northern Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron on Friday night, although no injuries were reported. This morning two men suspected of carrying out the crime were captured n the town of Rujeib by IDF, ISA, and elite Yamam soldiers, who also confiscated an M16 rifle, illegal weapons and ammunition from inside the building in which the suspects were barricaded.
In related developments, IDF and Israel Border Police forces located and confiscated 26 handguns in the Jordan Valley adjacent to the town of Al-Auja on Sunday.
According to a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMoD), a separate weapons smuggling attempt was thwarted at the Netiv HaLamed Heh Crossing in southern Judea and Samaria on Saturday. IMoD Crossing Points Authority security guards confiscated about nine thousand 5.56 mm bullets and several M16 firearm parts from an Arab resident of Jerusalem, who was taken into custody.
Also on Saturday, IMoD security guards apprehended a Palestinian suspect with a knife found in his possession at the Reihan Crossing in Northern Samaria. The suspect will undergo further investigation by security forces.