By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
36-year-old Michael Ladygin, Tamir Avihai, 50, and Motti Ashkenazi, 59, were killed by Palestinian terrorist Muhammed Souf in multiple attacks in the Ariel Industrial Park and on a nearby highway 15 November. The 18-year-old assailant was shot dead by IDF soldiers and armed civilians about 20 minutes after the start of his murderous rampage.
In a series of responses to the attack, the Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)announced that “hundreds of permits for entry, work and stay in Israel from members of the family of the terrorist who perpetrated the terror attack” will be withheld.
The decision came after a security assessment by IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, that was approved by Minister of Defense Benny Gantz pursuant to the policy in practice last year whereby 3,000 relatives of Palestinian terrorists who perpetrated terror attacks against Israeli citizens and security forces were denied entry into Israel.
COGAT Head Major General Rassan Alian previously stated that the practice implemented in the aim of dissuading Palestinians from carrying out attacks on Israeli citizens in consideration of the livelihood of their families.
While hundreds of Israelis attended the funerals of the three victims, the IDF and Border Police Special Operations Units entered the village of Hares to map Souf’s private residence for demolition, in accordance with Jerusalem’s policy to deter further terrorist acts.
“We will continue to operate to reassert security and quiet for the residents of the sector,” declared IDF Golani Brigade Battalion 12 Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Suleiman during the mission, stressing that Israeli security services “operate day and night to restore routine to our citizens.”
The outgoing government in Jerusalem is maintaining Operation Waves Breaker to eradicate hideouts of terror cells throughout the West Bank territories of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
“The security campaign and security efforts continue all the time, and we, the leaders, need to keep placing the security of the citizens of Israel in front of our eyes at all times,” Defense Minister Gantz said during a meeting of his National Unity Faction, stressing that following his “debrief of the situation with the Chief of Staff and the head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet), that he IDF and all the security forces continue their determined activity against terrorism, in defense in the depth of the territories, on the seamline, and on the roads themselves.”
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Gantz went on to disclose that “dozens of terrorist attacks have been prevented and foiled” recently, and that as many as 27 terror suspects were apprehended this week alone. “We will continue to act with determination, responsibly, and professionally,” added the defense chief, warning, “We will reckon with everyone who participates in terrorist activity; we will do whatever it takes to prevent harm to the citizens of Israel.”