Ever since the heavy death toll in the Palestinian uprising on Friday, there have been several incidents of foiled bombings and narrowly averted disasters over the weekend, including one involving Israel's Chief Rabbi.
In an update to FRIDAY's violence, a total of three Israelis and six Palestinians were killed. After an Israeli schoolteacher and van driver were shot and killed in a Palestinian ambush near Kiryat Arba in the morning, IDF Sgt. Tal Gordon, 19, was killed Friday afternoon while traveling on a public bus traveling on the Jericho Bypass road. Gunmen in a passing car opened fire on the bus, killing Tal and injuring his girlfriend. IDF reports indicate Palestinian intelligence services helped plan the attack.
Four Palestinian policemen and one civilian were killed after an IDF tank fired a shell at a Palestinian police position. The Palestinians claim the policemen were shelled while they were inside their police station, in an area under joint Israeli-Palestinian security control. Israel said it fired the shell at armed and suspicious Palestinians in areas under Israeli control. Meanwhile, one Palestinian youth died in clashes with the IDF in Jerusalem's Old City, following prayers on the Temple Mount.
Late Friday night, the IDF reversed the goodwill gestures made earlier in the week and blockaded all Judea and Samaria towns and cities, except for Qalqilya.
Before dawn SATURDAY, gunmen again opened fire on Gilo from Beit Jalla, with the IDF returning fire.
Following the shootings of two settlers from Kiryat Arba Friday, tensions raged among Kiryat Arba residents who blocked the roads to Palestinians and took over a nearby home they claimed was built on their land. Palestinians claim this house belongs to a local family. The take-over resulted in a clash between the Palestinians and Israelis. Sometime during the incident, a 13-year-old Palestinian was shot. An IDF doctor treated the boy, who remains in serious but stable condition in an Israeli hospital. Police and IDF officials are still investigating the disputed circumstances of the shooting. Late Saturday night, more than two hundred settlers that had occupied the Palestinian home pulled out after an IDF commander warned the army would remove them by force.
Also Saturday, Israel arrested two officers of the Palestinian general intelligence service in Judea/Samaria, headed by Tawfik Tirawi, a Palestinian source reported. Israel has since claimed that members of Tirawi's group were responsible for the attack and killing of Sgt. Gordon Friday, according to information received by the security establishment.
On SUNDAY, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and his driver narrowly escaped an ambush by Palestinian gunmen, who riddled the bus the two were traveling in with automatic gunfire. They were returning from the Ateret settlement in Judea/Samaria. The bus was armor-plated, but the bullets shattered the windows and sent shrapnel and shards of glass onto the first row of seats. The rabbi sat in the front row of seats on the way to the settlement, but for some reason chose the second row on the return ride. Lau said his survival "was a great miracle."
The IDF also successfully foiled three planned terrorist attacks in Judea/Samaria. In one case, IDF troops shot and killed one of two Palestinians planting a bomb on the road next to the Har Gilo settlement south of Jerusalem before dawn. The Palestinians opened fire as they tried to flee. The uninjured bomber fled into Palestinian territory. The bomb was located and neutralized.
Soldiers also foiled a bombing attempt near Eilon Moreh. Troops detected a bomb with a cable leading to a group of Palestinians, and opened fire. The terrorists fled without injury, and the bomb was dismantled.
Also Monday, soldiers spotted a group of four Palestinians moving suspiciously near the settlement of Salem. The IDF opened fire, wounding all of the Palestinians. One was captured, while three fled.
Soldiers shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian demonstrator near Nablus. The army said it had used live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, but had shot at their legs.
Throughout the weekend, shooting incidents occurred at Kfar Darom, at Neveh Dekalim, at Israeli vehicles on the Trans-Samaria highway near Jama'in, at vehicles on the Karni-Netzarim road, at IDF vehicles at the Gush Katif junction in Gaza and near Titzar, at workers on the Psagot bypass road near Beit El, at a vehicle near Halamish, at an IDF base near Jericho, and at the IDF's Ofer and Horon bases near Ramallah. There was only one reported injury, to the driver near Halamish. Her wounds were not serious.
On MONDAY, Palestinians fired at an IDF post guarding the Jewish community in Hebron. Palestinian sources say a 14-year-old youth bystander was wounded by IDF return gunfire in the incident. Palestinian gunmen also fired at an Israeli vehicle in the vicinity of Nablus and at a civilian convoy travelling near Netzarim.
A Palestinian in Hebron was lightly wounded in the leg as he attempted to stab a soldier. The assailant managed to jam the knife in the soldier's flak jacket before the soldier opened fire in self-defense.
IDF soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian as he attempted to steal a machine-gun off an armored personnel carrier near the Karni industrial area in Gaza. Soldiers were inside the vehicle at the time. The army is investigating how the Palestinian was able to get inside the vehicle unnoticed.
Palestinians hurled two firebombs at a border-police patrol in eastern Jerusalem. The firebombs hit near their vehicle, but did not cause any damage or injury. The soldiers fired in the air to prevent further attacks.
As we go to press, a 25 year old Gilo woman was wounded by Palestinian gunfire from Beit Jalla. The heavy IDF response could be heard throughout much of Western Jerusalem.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.