Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
Palestinian Authority flag over Tulkarem.

In the face of escalating threats from the nearby Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarem, emergency rapid response teams in Israel’s Sharon region were equipped with hundreds of ceramic vests and protective equipment on Thursday.

Communities in Israel’s Sharon region — the coastal plain — are grappling with daily Palestinian Authority shooting attacks and infiltrations.


Sharon residents recently told TPS-IL they were especially alarmed by videos circulating on Hamas’s social media channels that frequently feature nighttime footage of gunmen firing at Israeli guards along perimeter fences before quickly fleeing.

The initiative to bolster the kitot konenut — local civilian security teams — was bolstered by two American nonprofits, Israel Friends and Civil Squads of Israel (CSI) and the World Zionist Organization.

Since October 7, Israel Friends has donated roughly 500 tons of equipment worth $26 million to the kitot konenut. CSI provides training and equipment to the security teams.

Members of kitot konenut are usually trained in basic military and first aid skills, and they are equipped with defensive gear and weapons to handle threats until official security forces arrive.

Israel has been working to strengthen local civilian security teams after they were overwhelmed by Hamas during the October 7 attacks on communities near the Gaza border.

“Unfortunately, in recent months we have seen a significant increase in threats to borderline villages, which necessitates increasing the protective measures of our rapid response units,” said Eli Eton, head of the Lev HaSharon Regional Council during a ceremony at Moshav Nitzani Oz, where the equipment was handed over.

“I would like to thank the donors for their spirit of giving, the organizations Israel Friends, WZO and its CEO Yaakov Hagoel, and Civil Squads of Israel and their team Danny Buchen and Nir Alon. A big thank you to the volunteers, thanks to whom we sleep better at night. They work day and night to keep us safe.”

On Tuesday night, Israeli security forces entered the Nur Shams neighborhood in Tulkarem in a counterterror operation, according to Arab media reports. On July 3, four Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed in an Israeli drone strike while planting a roadside bomb in the community.

Since October 7, approximately 4,150 Palestinian Authority terror suspects have been arrested in counterterror raids throughout Judea and Samaria. Of those, 40 percent were members of Hamas, the terrorist organization that launched the October 7th war against Israel.

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