With a large increase in the number of shootings, stabbings, and stone and Molotov cocktail throwings against Israelis the past few weeks, Israeli security officials today said they fear the violent trend might be indicative of a plan by the Palestinian terror groups to launch a new intifada against the Jewish state, with the violence mostly focused against Jews in the West Bank.
The warning follows a widely circulated article in which leaders of all the major Palestinian terror organizations told WorldNetDaily recent events here are leading their groups to initiate what they called a third intifada against Israel consisting of suicide bombings, rocket attacks against Jewish communities and "a few new surprises in our arsenal."
Major increase in 'low-level' attacks against Israelis in West Bank
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the declared military wing of the long-ruling Fatah party, claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting today of a Jewish man at a gas station southeast of Nablus in the West Bank. Yesterday, Palestinian terrorists stabbed two Jewish men in the West Bank, and at least four other stabbings were prevented.
Such incidences of stone-throwing, Molotov cocktail lobbing, shootings and stabbings have been reported daily the past two weeks, mostly in the West Bank. During this period, 50 firebombs were thrown, compared to 35 in the previous two weeks; 39 incidents of violence or damage to Jewish property were reported, compared to 26 in the previous two weeks, and there were 225 stone-throwing incidents, compared to 200 in the same period. Shooting attacks reportedly rose from 26 to 37 in the last two weeks, and the number of bombs planted from 6 to 15.
Security officials said more data needs to be collected before determining the implications of the rise in violence, but they warned the information coincides with trends indicative of the start of the previous two intifadas.
The Palestinians started their first intifada in 1987, which developed into a well-organized violent rebellion orchestrated by Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization from its headquarters in Tunis. It began with lower-level attacks similar to those seen the past few weeks, such as rock throwings.
The so-called second intifada was initiated in 2000 after Arafat rejected at Camp David an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state on most of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and sections of eastern Jerusalem. The violence started with rock throwing, shootings and stabbings, and morphed into suicide bombings and rocket launchings. Some 993 Israelis and 3,781 Palestinians have been killed so far. Many say the second intifada is still being waged.
Security officials told WND they would expect any so-called third intifada to be concentrated mostly against Jewish communities in the West Bank.
"The Palestinian terror groups took responsibility for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza with their increased attacks there. Now it seems they are looking to do the same in the West Bank. This will be the scene of the next terror war," said a senior security official.
Terror leaders warn: 'Third intifada on its way'
The major increase in attacks and latest Israeli warnings follow a series of WorldNetDaily exclusive interviews with leaders of the Palestinian terror groups who warned they will soon launch a massive violent campaign against Israel.
Some terrorist leaders, particularly from the Al Aqsa Brigades, whose associated Fatah Party scored poorly against Hamas in last month's parliamentary elections, say they are planning a "third intifada” against Israeli civilians mostly to revolt against the new Hamas-controlled Palestinian government.
"The new intifada is only a question of time and this will be the hardest and the most dangerous one. It's just about timing until the order to blow up a new wave of attacks will be given," Abu Nasser, a senior Al Aqsa Brigades leader from the Balata refugee camp in northern Samaria, said in an interview.
Abu Nasser said the Brigades will not respect any cease-fire agreed upon by Hamas and will not halt attacks at Hamas' request.
He said, "When we were in power, we were obliged to be more sensitive and more obedient to the instructions and policies of our leadership. Now that we lost the elections, why should we obey the leaders and just who do we obey? The Hamas?"
Other terror leaders told WND now that acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his administration will seek an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, terrorism against Israel must be stepped up "to prove we are chasing out the Israelis like we did in Gaza."
WorldNetDaily caught up with Abu Oudai, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader responsible for coordinating the organization's rocket network in the West Bank. He warned his organization is preparing a massive rocket onslaught against Israel: "We have launched (several) times and with the help of Allah we will launch these rockets regularly," he said.
"There will be no calm, no cease-fire until the occupation leaves our land. I don't need to tell you that the aerial distance from Jenin to Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is not big without telling you what are all our plans concerning other parts of the West Bank."
Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella organization of terror groups responsible for the majority of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, warned his group is prepared to launch a rocket intifada in the West Bank and major Israeli cities.
"If there is need, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and everywhere in Israel can become our target. Israelis must also know that we have already transferred the knowledge and the technology of producing rockets to the West Bank. Israelis should wait for a revolution....The lives of Israeli citizens will turn to hell very soon. ," Abu Abir said.
Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Zahar told WND his group for the time being will refrain from participating in terror attacks, but it will not ask other groups to halt their violence.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abu Hani told WND his terror group used a cease-fire signed with Israel last year "for a rest in order to rehabilitate forces. The Palestinian nation preserves its right to fight against Israel ... which is forcing us to launch a new intifada."
Islamic Jihad's northern West Bank leader, Abu Khalil, said his terror group is planning a new terror war to chase Israel from the West Bank and eventually from Jerusalem.
Asked by WND which weapons will be emphasized during Islamic Jihad's next wave of terror attacks, Abu Khalil replied, "I should not answer this question for operational reasons. But we proved that we use everything Allah enables us to achieve and to use – suicide attacks, rockets and more surprises. The Israelis should wait for interesting surprises."
Republished by permission of WorldNetDaily