Lapid: Involvement of PA security in killing of IDF major 'step up' in escalation

PM says Israel will operate wherever the Palestinian Authority fails to maintain order - to protect Israelis, hinting at the failure of Palestinian security to contain violence in parts of the West Bank; Gantz orders Jalameh crossing closed after gunfight

Itamar Eichner, Elisha Ben Kimon|
Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the fact that one of the terrorists killed in an altercation on the West Bank on Wednesday, was a member of the Palestinian Authority's counter intelligence force, is "a step up."
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  • "Wherever the Authority does not maintain order, we will not hesitate to act. Israel will strike anyone seeking to harm it, " he said in a insinuated criticism of the PA for its failure to exert its security enforcement in certain areas of the West Bank, where now militants have gained strength.
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    ראש הממשלה יאיר לפיד
    ראש הממשלה יאיר לפיד
    Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    Israel and the Palestinian Authority have for years cooperated on matters of security.
    "Israeli security forces are prepared to act everywhere including along the partition wall," he said adding his condolences to the family of IDF Maj. Bar Falah who was killed in exchanges of fire with two Palestinian gunmen late on Tuesday. The Palestinians were also killed in the altercation.
    Bar was laid to rest in his home town of Netanya. Hundreds were on hand to follow him on his final journey.
    "He was a brave man, with endless strength, leadership and love," his brother said. "He was not only strong when in uniform. He was a hero in civilian life as well, always helping others," he said.
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the border crossing near the West Bank city of Jenin, where the terror attack took place, closed indefinitely.
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    The Jalame West Bank border crossing
    The Jalame West Bank border crossing
    The Jalame West Bank border crossing
    (Photo: Defense Ministry)
    "This Jalameh crossing allows Palestinians in the area, to earn a good living," Gant said. "The fact that one of the gunmen was a member of the PA security services is a stark warning for the authority to clean house. A deterioration of the security situation will first-of-all be a blow to Palestinians and the authority," he said.
    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf said the United States was greatly concerned about security and economic conditions in the West Bank and that it seeks to ensure that security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) remains.
    "Our part in this is to ensure to the greatest degree possible that security cooperation is robust and continuing," she said in a briefing call on Wednesday.

    Reuters contributed to the report
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