IDF officials expressed concern Thursday over recent anti-army activities by Arabs in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria as soldiers attempt to round up terror suspects. In several recent incidents, Arabs rioted when soldiers entered towns and villages to arrest suspects, and in some cases, terrorists shot at soldiers, forcing them to respond with lethal force.
Early Thursday, IDF soldiers eliminated a terrorist in the Arab town of Kalkilya early Thursday. The armed terrorist opened fire at an IDF unit that was attempting to apprehend another terrorist. Soldiers shot back, eliminating the shooter. Soldiers discovered several weapons and a large amount of ammunition on the terrorist’s body. Arabs rioted as the soldiers attempted to arrest the suspect, firing handguns and throwing hand grenades. No soldiers were injured in the rioting or shooting.
That came just hours after IDF troops eliminated a terrorist in Jenin, wounding five others as Arabs rioted when soldiers attempted to apprehend a terror suspect Wednesday evening. The clashes broke out after Israeli special forces came under fire after being exposed in the course of an undercover operation to arrest local Hamas commander Jamal Abu al-Haija. No IDF soldiers were injured in that operation either.
Officials said that the two incidents were not unique, and that similar riots had broken out elsewhere in recent months. Nevertheless, they said, the riots seem to be localized, and not part of an intifada or organized terror movement. The officials said they were concerned over the riots, but that they did not expect them to jell into a larger, organized movement.
With that, they said, the IDF was taking into consideration all conditions and would tailor missions to take them into account. However, the officials insisted, the IDF’s policy of apprehending terror suspects as necessary would continue.
IDF operations such as the ones which took place this week have proven crucial in thwarting potentially deadly attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces alike.
Late last month, a joint border guard and IDF operation eliminated three members of an independent Salafi Islamist cell, thwarting an imminent wave of attacks against Israeli and Palestinian Authority targets