In response to last week’s kidnappings and constant terrorism in Judea and Samaria, the IDF intensified its efforts to weaken Hamas.
IDF soldiers conducted a special operation Monday night in the city of Nablus, arresting dozens of terrorist suspects and uncovering hundreds of weapons in the area. The mission emphasized a key objective of the IDF operation: to weaken Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure inside Judea and Samaria. The operation involved hundreds of forces from the Nahal Brigade, who uncovered guns, explosive devices, grenades and ammunition throughout the city. Soldiers arrested 41 terrorist suspects, bringing to 191 the number detained since the operation began. The IDF is determined to reduce constant acts of terrorism in the region, many of which involve Hamas.
Even as Israeli security measures prevent Hamas violence, the organization’s members plan attacks as part of terror cells. For example, a Hamas-run cell from the region carried out the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus in November 2012, wounding 26 innocent civilians in the attack. Each year, the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Ben Security Service) exposes several of these cells and arrests their members.
On a regular basis, terrorists attempt to break through security fences and attack Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria. In October 2013, a terrorist infiltrated an Israeli community and attacked a 9-year-old girl who ultimately survived her injuries. Two years earlier, Palestinian terrorists broke into a home in Ariel and brutally stabbed five members of the Fogel family as they lay sleeping.
IDF soldiers are often the targets of attacks in the region. In September of last year, a Palestinian terrorist kidnapped Sgt. Tomer Hazan and murdered him in Judea and Samaria. Last November, a terrorist from the area stabbed Pvt. Eden Atias, a 19-year-old IDF soldier, while he slept on a bus.
Weapons in the hands of terrorists
Each month, IDF forces in the region report discoveries of weapons caches like the ones found Monday night. The soldiers perform frequent searches of Palestinian homes, where they uncover weapons inside of walls and in other hiding places. Just a few weeks ago, Israeli security forces caught a Palestinian man with 12 pipe bombs strapped to his body as he approached troops at Tapuah Junction.
Terror attacks are especially common inside of Judea and Samaria. Every month, Palestinians hurl dozens of firebombs at civilians and passing cars. The attacks instil fear in the region’s residents and risk lives on a daily basis. Just last month, forces reported nearly 100 firebomb incidents throughout the region.
Rocks can kill
Other violence comes in the form of rock throwing, a terror act that threatens to injure and kill civilians. In 2013, the IDF recorded more than 2,400 rock throwing incidents in Judea and Samaria. Thirty percent of these attacks were directed at civilian vehicles, and the incidents injured 116 people in total. Rocks may appear harmless, but they threaten lives.
Terrorists use sophisticated explosives to harm as many innocent people as possible. Explosive devices were especially common during the Second Intifada, when they killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks on buses and in other public places. Earlier this year, four IDF soldiers were injured when an explosive device detonated under their patrol jeep.
Though not as common as other kinds of terror, shootings repeatedly occur in Judea and Samaria. In September 2013 Palestinian sniper fire killed Sgt. Gabriel Koby, age 20, as he performed routine guard duty in the city of Hebron.