There has been a marked increase in Palestinian attacks following the premature break-up of peace talks in Taba on Saturday evening, while the IDF managed to intercept an armed Palestinian squad infiltrating from Lebanon, leaving two terrorists dead.
In the fourth infiltration attempt in the past few weeks, two Palestinian terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command were killed on Friday night by IDF fire as they attempted to cross the Lebanese border into Israel in the unfenced Har Dov region. A third terrorist escaped wounded. It is believed the terrorists had intended to attack civilian targets at the nearby Dan and Dafna kibbutzim and perhaps try to take hostages.
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Harriri roundly condemned the infiltration attempt, saying his country rejected military activities by Palestinian factions against Israel from Lebanese territory, and that Palestinians who wished to fight Israel should do so from PA territory.
Meanwhile, Hizb'Allah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned Sunday night that the organization would kidnap more Israelis unless a prisoner exchange deal is concluded before the election. Three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped from Har Dov by the Islamic terrorist group on October 7.
Back on Friday, a bomb attached to a cellular phone was found in a Jewish greenhouse in Morag, in southern Gaza, and was safely dismantled. Throughout the day, Palestinians directed shooting, grenades, and firebombs at IDF forces along the Israel-Egypt border and in Gush Katif. One Palestinian was seriously injured and flown to hospital in Beersheva.
Palestinian sources reported that a woman from Herzliya and her Palestinian friend drove to Nablus on Friday, and when her identity became known, a crowd of Palestinians sought to kill her. In the end the woman was saved by Palestinian Preventive Security officials, and transferred to an IDF checkpoint, unharmed.
On Saturday morning, a resident of Nablus was murdered in front of his family by unidentified gunmen. The victim was shot nine times when he opened the door to his home. A Palestinian source said that rumors pointed to his being killed for collaborating with Israel, but added it was possible that the attack was motivated by personal revenge. Also Saturday, shooting attacks were recorded in the Hebron and Jerusalem areas.
Once the Taba talks failed to produce an agreement Saturday night, the IDF noticed an immediate increase in terrorist attacks, especially from roadside bombs. IDF soldiers defused two roadside bombs Sunday morning planted by Palestinians on the Karni-Netzarim road. Later in the day, Palestinian policemen shot at army bulldozers operating near the site; soldiers searching the area discovered that the perpetrators who planted the bombs had been operating from a nearby Palestinian Police position at the Netzarim junction, which the IDF destroyed.
Further shooting and firebomb/grenade attacks occurred throughout the day in Gaza and elsewhere. Palestinians claim a 12-year-old boy was killed and two others were wounded during the exchanges of gunfire.
Also yesterday, a Border Police patrol entered Kalandia in the Ramallah area to extricate an Israeli citizen who had ventured inside the city on his own accord and was attacked by several Palestinians. The IDF Spokesman said the man who appeared to be mentally unstable underwent a medical examination and was found to be unharmed.
On Monday, a bomb exploded on the border fence south of the Gaza Kisufim crossing point as an IDF patrol drove by, while IDF sappers dismantled a bomb found near Kibbutz Erez at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. An Arab man was killed in an exchange of fire in the south of the area, according to ISRAEL RADIO. Also today, an Israeli woman travelling on an Egged bus was lightly injured in a stoning incident near the Jiftlik junction in the Jordan Valley.
In other developments, GSS head Avi Dichter confirmed Sunday that six members of Yasser Arafat's Presidential Guard, the notorious Force 17, have been apprehended for staging a series of terror attacks in Samaria, including the murderers of Binyamin and Talia Kahane. The six arrested are members of Arafat's elite bodyguard unit have been active in the Ramallah area. Palestinian reports said another member of the group was killed earlier this week in Ramallah by a stray bullet. The Prime Minister's Office said additional members of the group are in hiding in Ramallah.
According to the GSS, the arrested men are responsible for the murders of seven Jews over the past three months: Sarah Lisha and the soldiers Elad Veinshtein and Amit Zana - all in a two-pronged attack between Ofrah and Shilo; Ariel Jerafi east of Tapuach; Eliyahu Cohen on the Modi'in highway, and the Kahane couple outside Ofrah. The terror cell is apparently also responsible for many of the recent shooting attacks in northern Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak said the attacks were apparently not planned by Arafat or Force 17 commanders, but by people from lower in the organization. However, former deputy GSS chief Gideon Ezra, currently a Likud MK, told IMRA yesterday that he is "convinced that Arafat or their commanders knew about their activities... There is no doubt that Arafat should be blamed for the activities of this cell... It is the force that is closest to Arafat."
Special Israeli security forces arrested other Palestinian terrorists throughout Judea and Samaria over the weekend.
The IDF also suspects that a merchant ship dropped a load of barrels carrying rocket propelled grenades into the sea off Gaza last week, and when the barrels were washed up on shore, Palestinians carried them off to the PA security services. The incident buttresses Israeli suspicions that the Palestinians are using sea routes to smuggle weapons into the territories.
The IDF suspects that in addition to RPGs, weapons smuggling includes anti-tank missiles, as well as weapons that can be used against aircraft, such as Stingers and Strella missiles. The sources say that as many as several dozen anti-tank missiles may be in the hands of PA security forces, with some of the arsenal coming in through tunnels between Egypt and Rafiah.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.