A lengthy manhunt culminated with the elimination of an Islamist terror cell directed by Hamas.
By Jonathan Hessen Erin Viner
The counter-terror operation, carried out as part of Operation Waves Breaker, was launched a week ago when two Hamas gunmen evaded arrest by IDF and Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Special Operations Units, after attempting to commit a mass shooting attack at a restaurant at the Almog Junction in the West Bank.
It has been revealed that Israeli troops closed in on the pair in the town of Aqbat Jabr, south of the city of Jericho this past Saturday night. During a fierce exchange of gunfire, seven Hamas terrorists were killed including the two wanted men, said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Lauding the successful mission, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the security had prevented two imminent terror attacks planned by the cell.
“These actions saved many lives. In addition, I praise the ISA and the IDF for the operation in Jericho,” he said, underscoring, “Our policy is clear: we act everywhere and by all means to thwart terrorism and harm those who plan to harm us.”
Overnight, IDF, ISA and Israel Border Police forces conducted further counterterrorism activities at several locations in the West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria.
During activity in the city of Nablus, explosive devices, firebombs and rocks at the troops. A hit was identified of an armed Palestinian who opened fire at the troops, who responded with live fire.
Four suspects wanted for involvement in terrorist activity were captured during a mission in the town of Brukim, where a hunting rifle and other military equipment were confiscated. Local gunmen opened fire and hurled explosive devices at the Israeli security forces, damaging vehicles.
Two suspects were apprehended in the town of Kafr ‘Aqab, where ammunition and an airsoft gun were confiscated.
Another wanted Palestinian was arrested in the Qalandiya Camp and two hunting rifles, a handgun, gun parts and ammunition were seized. An explosive device and rocks were thrown at the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means.
In the city of Hebron, Israeli soldiers apprehended a suspect and confiscated gun parts, while an additional suspect was captured in the town of Al-Pwar.
All of the suspects were transferred to security forces for further questioning.
Additional operations were carried out in the Arab towns of Huwara, Kadum, Baqa and and Haje.
No IDF injuries were reported in any of the incidents.
In related developments, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the cabinet’s intention to complete ratification for the founding of the new Israeli community called Hanon in the Gaza periphery, that had been approved by his previous Likud-led government.
“The establishment of this community is further testament to the resilience of the Gaza Periphery and the strength of the State of Israel in the face of all threats,” said the Prime Minister, referring to sporadic rocket fire from Palestinian terrorists in the Islamist Hamas-controlled enclave.
“ We are proud to build the Land of Israel and we are proud to strengthen our communities in all of its parts,” he added.