A day after the fatal knife attack at Tapuach Junction, security forces in the West Bank were told to increase their vigilance in order to prevent the occurrence of similar attacks. At the same time, Israel Defense Forces sources told Ynet about the difficulty of preventing such attacks due to disturbances caused by settlers.
"These kinds of attacks are very hard to stop, because you're talking about a regular civilian that suddenly becomes an attacker," the sources said, adding, "Soldiers need absolute concentration, and sometimes they are distracted from their main mission by Jewish settlers who try to cause a disturbance."
The sources noted that the attack illustrates the tension in the West Bank, both among terror groups and also attackers acting alone, without a guiding ideology.
"The soldiers understand the threat they face, but sometimes, because of other events, they are compelled to divide their attention and focus on other things," they said. They added that soldiers are sometimes obliged to act against settlers who try to harm Palestinians.
"A soldier is supposed to be focused on his mission, which is defense. This mission becomes more complex when a civilian pulls out a knife, and the only way of preventing such an attack is through vigilance and concentration."
Referring to a separate incident, which ended well, Judea and Samaria Commander Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon praised reservists of the 21st battalion and soldiers in the military police. The soldiers had managed to stop a Palestinian carrying three explosive devices and a knife from getting through a checkpoint south of Tul Karem.
The suspect intended to carry out an attack at the site or within Israel, Alon asserted, and explained that the explosive devices were in the form of grenades which could have caused considerable damage had the attack been successful.
"You are doing important work that grants security to the citizens of Israel," Alon told the soldiers.