Elevated security for Jerusalem Marathon. Alert for Palestinian car bombs

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Extra soldiers, police and other security personnel are to be drafted in to secure the annual Jerusalem marathon taking place next Friday (March 18). Intelligence authorities are preparing in case Palestinian terrorists use the event for a another surge of violence after hitting three Israeli towns during US Vice President Joe Biden’s two-day visit last week.

Israeli security authorities are on the lookout for drive-by shootings from moving cars or even the first Palestinian car bombings.

So far, 5,300 runners have registered for the Jerusalem Marathon, which covers a 42-km course through the streets of the capital, Almost half are visitors from nine countries. 
The current Palestinian “intifada” has escalated constantly since it erupted last September. Of late, the knifings, rocks and car attacks on pedestrians have been ramped up to gunfire and explosive devices. debkafile’s counterterrorism sources disclose that Palestinian terror planners are said to be gearing up for their first car bombings in Israel’s main cities.

Israeli security and the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service are in a race against time to hunt down and forestall these outrages. An intensive effort is underway to nip in the bud the next shooting and firebomb attacks, by disabling the clandestine Palestinian workshops that are producing weapons for terrorist attacks, especially Karl Gustav automatic machine guns.

Gangs of two or three shooters are being recruited for automatic gun shootings coupled with lobbed firebombs.

The hunt is also on for the agents distributing these guns around Palestinian towns.

Late last week, a black-clad, masked terrorist standing by the roadside near Othniel threw a pipe bomb at an Israel car as it drove past. The car was rocked by the blast but no one was hurt.
The next day, Saturday March 12, the IDF placed under lockdown the Palestinian village of Beit Ur A-Tachta, where two drive-by gunmen took refuge after shooting up a checkpoint on Rte 443 near Jerusalem and injuring two soldiers – neither seriously,  The village overlooks the key highway.

This attack was especially provoking as it happened on a stretch of Rte 443 that is heavily patrolled by soldiers and monitored by high-grade devices. Yet the gunmen managed a shooting attack and then got clean away.
Indeed, the last two attacks, which looked like the opening shoots of the next ramped-up stage of Palesitnian terror, had this in common: Both perpetrators managed to escape. That alone bespoke the involvement of professional terrorists, in contrast to the lone knifemen who are mostly shot dead on the spot or otherwise neutralized by security personnel nearby.
Sunday, March 13, it was revealed that on March 1, an IDF paratroop unit raided and demolished clandestine workshops in Nablus that were turning out improvised Karl Gustav automatic machine guns; on March 11, 15 of these homemade firearms were found hidden at Yaabed, a village near Jenin.

debkafile’s military sources report that this was the first serious IDF-cum-Shin Bet operation to cut down Palestinian arms and explosives manufacturing in Judea and Samaria.

Nablus and Yaabed were just the tip of the iceberg. This illicit munitions industry has been thriving during years of Israeli neglect. Nablus was generally known to be the hub of the illegal production of homemade Karl Gustav automatic machineguns – not just for Palestinian terrorists but also for sale to Israeli Arabs across the Green Line. This extended market came to light on March 1 last year, when an Israeli Arab shot up a café on Dizengoff St, Tel Aviv, murdering murdered two Israelis.

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