image Photo: Flash90, Israel Police

Israel briefs US on counter-terror ops

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz conducted a call with his counterpart, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

By Erin Viner

“The discussion focused on the ongoing counterterrorism efforts by the IDF and ISA in Judea and Samaria, particularly in the area of Nablus following the terror attacks that have led to the deaths of both Israeli civilians and troops,” said a statement TV7 obtained from the Media and Foreign Affairs Advisor to Defense Minister Gantz.

IDF,  Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations forces have been conducting counterterrorism activity in the West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria as part of the half-year-long Operation Waves Breaker launched by Jerusalem’s defense establishment to root-out terror elements following a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.

This morning, Border Police and IDF forces entered into the West Bank village of Beit Deko this morning, from which the terrorist who perpetrated yesterday’s ramming and stabbing attack originated.

A riot erupted during which local youth hurled rocks and firebombs as the Israeli forces entered into the house of the terrorist, causing the troops to respond with crowd dispersal means. The Border Police Spokesperson’s Unit said that one assailant who attempted to hurl a firebomb placed the forces at immediate risk and was thus shot with live fire.  Red Crescent medical teams treated the assailant and evacuated him to a Palestinian-run hospital. No injuries were reported among the Israeli troops.

Exchanges of fire were reported during other operations in the West Bank terrorist hotbeds of Jenin and Nablus,. No injuries were reported to the Israeli troops and, at the culmination of the operational activity fourteen suspected terrorists were successfully apprehended.

Following a routine situation assessment vis-à-vis the West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria, it has been decided that the general closure that was imposed on the Palestinian city of Nablus will be lifted.

In recent days, members of the Lion’s Den terror organization have turned themselves in to the Palestinian Authority’s Security Forces. The wave of surrenders was prompted after a senior member of the group gave himself up fearing for his life. A statement was nevertheless issued in his name on social media in which he claimed to be taking a “respite” and pledged to return to the “battlefield” in the near future.

That trend has been complemented by a downturn in the number of shooting attacks emanating from Nablus. IDF Central Command officials said they believed that more members of the Lion’s Den would surrender themselves to the Palestinian Authority in the weeks ahead. Israeli security officials said that the decision by top Lion’s Den members to surrender themselves has contributed to a reduction in the number of attacks and other threats to Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, while also boosting the public standing of the Palestinian Authority as a source of power on the Palestinian street.

Meanwhile, senior Palestinian security officials have continued to negotiate with prominent members of the Lion’s Den and other groups, persuading them to give up their guns and to surrender themselves to Palestinian Authority custody. IDF officials confirmed that some of the Lion’s Den operatives who only recently joined the group and hadn’t yet taken any active role in terrorism against Israelis have been hired to junior staff positions by the Palestinian Authority, with the goal of extricating them from a cycle of crime and terrorism.

Israeli military officials emphasized that Israel would not allow the murderers of Staff Sergeant Ido Bar, who was killed in a drive-by shooting attack near the Israeli community of Shavei Shomron, to surrender themselves to the Palestinian security forces. Moreover, the officials pledged that if those responsible for the murder would try to surrender, the IDF would step in to arrest them at any cost.