Israel cracks down on Hamas in West Bank after deadly attack – Arab-Israeli Conflict

IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017.

IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017..

With tensions still high in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israeli security forces are cracking down on Hamas militants, arresting 25 Palestinians overnight across the West Bank.

On Sunday morning, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced that it made 25 arrests of Hamas members, including several higher-up officials overnight in the West Bank in cooperation with the IDF as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that tensions do not escalate into more violence.

“The wave of detentions, that included a number of senior Hamas figures, was part of the preventive efforts of the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces against the terrorist organizations, particularly during the past week and due to the tension surrounding the Temple Mount and the unrest in the area,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

On Saturday, IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said that the IDF and other security agencies are working to prevent further deterioration of the situation on the ground which is seeing a worsening trend of increased support for attacks among Palestinians.

“There is more and more support for violence as days go on and more potential attackers, Manelis said stressing that there is a new aspect that hasn’t been seen in other attacks since the wave of violence broke out two years ago.

“There is more consensus and support for this attack among Palestinians and more legitimization on the streets,” he continued, adding that “there is a dangerous dynamic now and we are working to make sure that there is not another attack like last night.”

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The crackdown came as a rocket launched from the northern Gaza hit southern Israel.

While the army had earlier stated that the rocket exploded in Gaza shortly after it was launched it later confirmed that it had landed in Israel and that it had been located in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

While there was no damage or injuries, the army is investigating why the warning system did not pick up the launch.

Several rockets have been launched from Gaza this year, most recently in June, claimed by small jihadist groups. Israel nonetheless hold Hamas responsible for any rocket fire coming from the Strip.

IDF Chief Of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot addressed the current situation speaking to new draftees Sunday morning at the induction center in Tel HaShomer in central Israel, telling them that they are entering the army in a “very complicated and volatile time.”

The chief of staff addressed the rocket fire, saying that it “attests to the explosiveness of this period, both from Gaza and from the West Bank.”

“Should war break out, our task is to win decisively, to achieve clear results and to push back the next war many years back,” Eisenkot said. “The security situation is quiet, but it is very complex and volatile, and things can develop very quickly,” he added.

The rocket launch and arrests comes amid escalating violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank following a deadly terror attack in which two Israeli police officers were killed and led authorities to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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At least four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces in demonstrations since Friday, including one on Saturday night in the village of al-Eizariya.  According to Palestinian news agency Maan, the fatality was identified as 23-year-old Yousif Kashur from the town of Abu Dis.

Demonstrations against the installation of the metal detectors also took place in Gaza on Friday leaving several Gazans injured from Israeli fire.

Several hours after the demonstrations three Israeli civilians were stabbed to death in the West Bank settlement of Halamisch by a Palestinian who has confessed to carrying it out because of the “desecration” of the Temple Mount.

The attacker, Omer al-Abed has confessed Friday’s terror attack telling investigators that he supports and intensifies with Hamas, and the terror group praised the attack in Halamisch as “heroic” and “necessary.”

Eisenkot said that Friday’s deadly attack in Halamisch which killed three Israelis and which was halted by a neighboring off-duty soldier “teaches something about the threats we are dealing with.”