Israel’s Security Cabinet decided Wednesday night to continue Operation Brother’s Keeper at “full throttle” until three kidnapped Israeli teens are found and returned home.
The holy Islamic month of Ramadan begins this coming Saturday; during this period, observant Muslims traditionally fast during the daylight hours, abstaining from food and drink each day until after sundown. It is also time in which tensions usually rise between Arabs and Jews and often there is a corresponding increase in the number of terrorist and other attacks.
Earlier this week there was some discussion over whether Israel had reached the lion’s share of its secondary goals in the operation, in neutralizing the presence of the Hamas terrorist organization in Judea and Samaria. More than 360 arrests have been made thus far, with at least 250 of those taken into custody claiming membership in Hamas.
But with the primary goal of finding the kidnap victims still ‘up front and center,’ the security cabinet decided to move forward with the operation, albeit with due consideration for the local PA Arab population, given the holiday circumstances.
IDF soldiers are still searching daily and overnight throughout the hills of Judea and Samaria Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16. The three boys were abducted from Gush Etzion by Arab terrorists on June 12 as they were hitchhiking home for the Sabbath from yeshiva.
In numerous homes and buildings, they have come across illegal weapons caches, hidden tunnels, previously undiscovered secret chambers, caves and cisterns whose presence was cleverly concealed by brush, rocks and in some cases even what appeared to be “ancient” agricultural terraces.
Overnight Wednesday IDF troops arrested a total of 10 Palestinian Authority fugitives during operations, including a terrorist who was tracked down near the southern Hevron Hills village of Samu’a but who fled to evade arrest. When warning shots did not stop him, IDF troops shot him instead, seriously wounding the fugitive. He was taken to an Israeli medical center for treatment, and will later be questioned by security personnel. A terrorist wounded while rioting against IDF soldiers during arrest operations several days ago in Ramallah also died last night.