Tension Escalates with Increased Palestinian Attacks on Israel

The tense situation between Israel and the Palestinians has escalated over the weekend, with four separate attacks reported against Israeli troops and infrastructure. In response – the Israeli Air-Force targeted five Hamas posts across the Gaza Strip. Today and on Saturday, Palestinian Islamists launched “cluster(s) of balloons carrying explosive devices from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory.” The IDF spokesperson’s Unit told TV7 that no injuries or damage were caused in either incident. In response, the Israeli air force retaliated by targeting four Hamas posts in the southern Gaza Strip. Less than twelve hours after the Saturday attack, two unarmed Palestinians were arrested by IDF forces, after crossing into Israel from the northern part of the enclave. The IDF transferred them to the Israeli Shin Bet Security Agency for questioning.

Shortly thereafter, a group of Palestinians hurled explosive devices at the security barrier that separates the Hamas-run territory and the Jewish state. While no injuries were reported, the border fence sustained minor damage. In response to this incident, the IDF spokesperson’s Unit told TV7 that an Air Force jet targeted a Hamas installation in the northern part of the Palestinian strip. An Israeli military source reiterated in a conversation with TV7 that “any incident in which Palestinians actively seek to terrorize Israel, the terror group Hamas that controls them will be held solely accountable.” The source further noted, “The fact that Hamas successfully thwarted dozens of attacks against Israel (since reaching an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire arrangement) indicates clearly that they control the situation; and that any time that it suits them, they allow their members and supporters to use means of terror against (Israel).”

Meanwhile, in what the IDF classified as a “nationalistically-motivated vehicular attack,” a Palestinian licensed vehicle rammed into Israeli forces near the West Bank village of N’ima, critically wounding an officer and lightly injuring another.

According to Israeli Paramedic Vishai Rauchberger, “Army forces that were on the site immediately began treating the injuries. We arrived at the scene (with) two intensive care ambulances. We treated a man in his twenties in a severe state with multiple injuries. Due to his injuries he’s been put into a medically induced coma, ventilated and evacuated to hospital. The second injured person is about 20-year-old, we treated injuries to his limbs. He was evacuated while conscious and calm. Both injured people were evacuated to Tel HaShomer Hospital.”

The Palestinian car reportedly accelerated before ramming into the troops, who stood on a roadside 10 kilometers northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah after their own vehicle experienced engine problems. The Israeli force responded by opening fire at the Palestinian vehicle, killing two of its occupants, while lightly wounding a third.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the IDF troops for their prompt response to the act of Palestinian terror. During a joint press conference in Jerusalem with his visiting-Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Netanyahu stressed that Jerusalem will act to accelerate the demolition of the assailants’ homes as part of Jerusalem’s policy of deterrence, and expressed his best wishes to the wounded soldiers.