The decision is one of a series taken by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz following consultations with the military and Shin Bet top brass who recommended Israel dusts off the house demolition policy. Mofaz will turn to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz for legal permission to demolish the house of Monday’s suicide bomber Lutfi Amin abu-Salem of the West Bank village of Rai, near Jenin.
Scene of terror attack (Footage: Yaron Brenner)
A total curfew is expected go into effect in the West Bank Monday evening and the IDF will occupy Palestinian towns marked as centers for terror networks.
Mofaz ordered the IDF to launch an assassination campaign of top Islamic Jihad leaders and activists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured, including four in critical condition, in the attack at Netanya's Sharon shopping mall. Islamic Jihad's military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the terror attack and identified the suicide bomber as Lutfi Amin abu-Salem of the West Bank village of Rai near Jenin.
'We will do what PA won’t'
Israel shelved its house demolition policy in February, when Mofaz approved recommendations by then Chief of General Staff Moshe Yaalon to cease the demolition of houses belonging to suicide bombers as a deterrence strategy.
The strategy was adopted in the summer of 2002 in the wake of a suicide attack at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra described the attack as “heavy and hard,” accusing the Palestinian Authority of failure in cracking down on terror groups. “We will do what the Palestinian Authority won’t do,” he said.
Ezra said the suicide bomber most likely reached the attack scene in an Israeli car, alluding to the possibility that Israeli citizens could have been part of the plot to carry out the attack.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom pointed the accusation finger to the Palestinian Authority “under the leadership of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas).”
In light of the events, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is set to convene an evening meeting in his Tel Aviv office with the participation of Mofaz, Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Dan Halutz and senior security officials.