The vow from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes after the tracking down of Palestinian assailants who carried out recent attacks on Jewish civilians.
By Erin Viner
Acting on pinpoint intelligence, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel Security Agency (ISA) and Border Police Special Operations Units launched an arrest raid in the West Bank on Saturday to apprehend wanted individuals suspected of carrying out a shooting attack in Avnei Hefetz on 2 May, that injured an Israeli civilian.
Both gunmen, identified as Hamzah Khreyoush and Samer Al-Shafei, were shot and killed after attempting to flee the scene, said a joint statement by the IDF, ISA and Israel Police. There were no reported injuries to the Israeli forces.
The Islamist Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip and has a strong presence in the West Bank, identified both men as members of one of its militant branches who had engaged in armed struggle against the Israeli military. The pair, both aged 22, died of bullet wounds to their chests, neck and abdomen, said the Palestinian Health Ministry.
According to the Israeli statement, two additional wanted individuals suspected of involvement in the Avnei Hefetz shooting attack were captured. Muhammad Abd al-Fattah, 21, and Ibrahim Ahmed, 19, both from Tulkarem, who were injured while attempting to flee the scene, were transferred to the ISA for further questioning after receiving medical care.
Two M-16 rifles, military vests and magazines used by the wanted suspects were located and confiscated during subsequent search of the hideout.
“The security forces will continue to operate to thwart terrorist activities and hold those involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians accountable,” stressed the IDF, ISA and Israel Police.
The latest mission follows the elimination of three Hamas operatives identified as responsible for the murder of a British-Israeli mother and her two daughters in a 7 April terror attack by Israeli Special Operations units during a vigorous gunbattle in the Palestinian city of Nablus on 4 May.
“The government is gaining momentum in several areas. First of all, in security. I commend the security forces for eliminating the terrorists that carried out the shooting attack at Avnei Hefetz only a few days ago, after eliminating the terrorists who murdered Lucy, Maya and Rina Dee, may their memories be for a blessing,” Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday.
“Since the start of the year, we have thwarted and arrested over 110 terrorists, a record number. These counter-terrorist actions entail complex operations, including entering the hearts of cities, while minimizing casualties among our forces and non-combatants, and indeed, 90% of casualties on the Palestinian side are terrorists,” underscored the Israeli leader.
Emphasizing what he described as “an international achievement,” Netanyahu said, “it is doubtful if any other military and security forces would be capable of achieving the same result in combat areas that are saturated with civilians, but our forces are doing so, and they truly deserve all praise and respect.”
The Prime Minister stressed that, “every terrorist knows that he will pay a price. The long arm of Israel will find anyone who tries to harm our citizens.”