IDF blockades Palestinian Tulkarm after terrorists murder rabbi
Israeli forces placed the Palestinian West Bank town of Tulkarm under blockade Thursday night, Dec. 24, after Palestinian terrorists murdered Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, 45, father of seven, in a drive-by attack on his car close to his home in Shavei Shomron. He died of a head wound shortly after his car was hit by 10 bullets. The Fatah suicide wing, al Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack.
A senior IDF officer told debkafile that the cooperative ties Palestinian, American and Israeli security forces and intelligence arms have developed over the past year now face their first critical test on the ground. They depend on Palestinian units in Tulkarm being willing and able to capture Rabbi Chai’s murderers and hand them over to Israel. If they fail this test, Israel forces will have to go in and take up the pursuit.
This development would undo the unwritten US-Israeli-Palestinian deal, whereby Israel has removed dozens of checkpoints on West Bank roads and withdrawn its troops from Palestinian cities, because it would demonstrate that the Palestinians cannot be trusted to maintain security and law and order in the regions under their authority.
Overnight, Israel put roadblocks back on a number of northern West Bank roads in case the Fatah killers were hiding in the area of the attack between Einav and Shavei Shomron and had not reached Tulkarm.
According to an earlier report, Palestinian security forces informed the Israeli units sweeping the area that a burning car had been spotted in an olive grove of the Palestinian village of Atzira al-Shamaliya. They assumed it belonged to the terrorists and had been torched to destroy clues to their identity.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report that the West Bank, Jerusalem and towns in central Israel have been on elevated terror alert for some weeks now. The state of preparedness was raised again Thursday night.