Israel Steps up Counter-Terror Action
Two Palestinian security men were killed and one seriously injured Wednesday night in Qalqilya in a fierce firefight with Israel troops in the town. Their deaths brought to six the total of Palestinian terrorists killed in a day of intense Israeli counter-terror operations on the West Bank. Another ten wanted militants were detained. Before dark, an Israeli patrol shot dead two armed Palestinians caught red-handed sniping at traffic on a West Bank highway near Humash. The two gunmen were members of the Palestinian police force, but also of the Fatah-Tanzim militia
The first operation by a Special Forces unit, backed up by tanks and helicopters, targeted Jihad Islami militants in Araba, a large village in the Jenin sector. This was the group that claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in Hadera, in which four women were shot dead at a bus stop. Fire was exchanged, wounding two Israeli troops and two Palestinians. After detaining Mujhad Abu Jalbush, who had been assigned a suicide mission, his controller, Nabil Moughir and three others, the Israeli force pulled out of the village.
Later, senior Hamas activist Jamil Jadallah Kawasmeh was struck by an Israeli helicopter-borne missile in Hebron, where he lived under Palestinian Police protection, although he was high on Israel’s wanted list for a long string of mass and single murders. They included active complicity in the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Pizzeria bombings.
A second senior Hamas militant, Abdullah Jarushi, was shot dead by Israeli troops in Tulkarm, after the town was placed under curfew Wednesday morning.
For two days, many thousands of Israeli vehicles in the most densely populated part of Israel have been tied up in miles of traffic jams caused by a massive police- army- border guard operation, in response to a high terror alert.
The irritating holdups will continue Thursday too as the danger has not passed.
Security attention will focus along the Rosh-Ha’Ayin-Bat Hefer Highway 444, which runs parallel to the West Bank border past the Palestinian towns of Qalqilya and Tulkarem.
District police report Palestinian mass bombers had been assigned to striking in an Israeli town in the region – Netanya, Hadera or Kfar Saba, all of which have been repeatedly targeted by terrorists. The massive blockading of the key highway foiled the attack – but only for the time being.