Israel's security forces on extra high alert ahead of High Holidays

Extensive measures taken to arrest suspects, identify and thwart terror attacks, and deepen military intelligence over recent weeks; now security forces spread throughout West banks roads and settlements, and in Jerusalem's hot spots

Yoav Zitun, Elisha Ben Kimon, Haim Goldich|
In the shadow of the recent increase in terrorist attacks, tension lurks among security agencies, ahead of the Jewish High Holidays, which begin on Sunday.
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  • Along with the extensive measures taken to arrest suspects, decipher terrorist attacks, and deepen military intelligence, the IDF is concentrating its efforts on protecting the roads and settlements in the West Bank and the border line area.
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    תיעוד מפעילות צה''ל במהלך מעצרם של  12 מבוקשים ביהודה ושומרון
    תיעוד מפעילות צה''ל במהלך מעצרם של  12 מבוקשים ביהודה ושומרון
    IDF soldier amid West Bank mission
    (Photo: The IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    In the IDF's West Bank Division, which currently has more than 25 battalions operating along the entire length of its front, a decision was taken, to reinforce the Nablus sector during the holidays. The intelligence and operational efforts were concentrated in the northern West Bank.
    At the same time, hundreds of police and troops from the Jerusalem area will be posted throughout Old City, the eastern neighborhoods, and other hubs of tension, With an influx of tourists expected to arrive in Jerusalem, the police decided to raise its alert to the highest level.
    Nevertheless, routine life is to continue as usual.
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    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    Policeman posted near the Western Wall in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    On Sunday, the military said they killed a Palestinian gunman and wounded others outside the settlement of Har Bracha, near Nablus.
    On Saturday, a Palestinian rammed into a police vehicle in the West Bank, while other Israeli troops were inspecting a Palestinian for suspicious activity. An IDF soldier who saw the Palestinian nearing at great speed, shot the driver and severely injured him. Mild injuries were sustained to policeman on the scene.
    The IDF claimed that the soldier thwarted an attempted terror attack.
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    זירת ניסיון הפיגוע בחוות גלעד
    זירת ניסיון הפיגוע בחוות גלעד
    Palestinian vehicle terror attempt
    (Photo: AFP)
    Amongst the additional terror strikes of the recent day, were two shooting attacks in the Nablus region between Wednesday and Thursday. In both cases there were no injuries reported, but the IDF uncovered dozens of bullets and immediately initiated a search of the area.
    The Palestinian militants posted footage of the shooting, and an organization named "Lion's Den" - believed to be located in Nablus - took responsibility for the gunfire.
    After the shooting incidents, dozens of Jewish settlers marched to a nearby square and blocked off one of the entrances to Nablus as a sign of protest.
    Security officials have emphasized that despite the series of security incidents that have taken place, meanwhile it seems that the targets are IDF troops and not civilians. Still, the IDF is continuing to arrest hundreds of terror suspects throughout the West Bank.
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    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    Police spread throughout Jerusalem
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    "The situation right now is very sensitive and complicated," explained an IDF official. "Our operational plans range from continuing the existing level of activity, thwarting attacks, to a large-scale military operation," he said.
    Despite the terror attacks, we are not on the cusp of a new intifada or losing control of the situation, but that's just right now. There is still a way to go and anything could happen," he said. "If we see that our actions succeed to reduce tensions, for a period of a month and a half, at least we will know that we have managed to stabilize the area."
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    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    פעילות המשטרה באירוע הסליחות בכותל
    Police spread throughout Jerusalem
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    Israeli security officials have also increased their cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on security matters, mainly in the northern West Bank region. Israel is giving the PA a free hand to operate against militants and criminals in the Nablus and Jenin regions.
    Clashes between Palestinian security forces and gunmen broke out after the PA arrested Musab Shtayyeh in Nablus last week.
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    עימותים בין פלסטינים בשכם
    עימותים בין פלסטינים בשכם
    Clashes in Nablus
    (Photo: AFP)
    The arrest of the Hamas member sparked uproar due to his popularity among the Palestinians on social media.
    Palestinian factions in Nablus announced a general strike, demanding Shtayyeh’s release, and warned the PA, not to hand over the militant to Israeli authorities. A Hamas spokesperson said Shtayyeh was a member of the group's militant wing and said his arrest was “a service to the occupation.”
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday approved an additional 1,500 work permits for Gaza residents, bringing the total number of Gazans able to work inside Israel to 17,000, provided security is maintained along the border and after daily assessments during the High Holidays

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