Security forces shot dead the attacker in the early hours of Friday. Residents of the city stayed off the streets in the aftermath of the attack, which has heightened a sense of reduced personal security across the country after three other attacks in the last two weeks. The gunman in Thursday’s attack, which wounded 10, was from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.
Shortly after the terrorist attack on Thursday, the Israeli military conducted a counter-terrorism operation in the area of the West Bank. Israeli security forces shot and killed four Palestinians the Palestinian health ministry said early Monday. Thirteen other Palestinians were wounded by the Israeli shooting, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he has given security agencies “full freedom” to curb a surge in violence.
“There are not and will not be limits for this war,” Bennett said. “We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic security agency] and all security forces in order to defeat the terror.”
Consequently, Israel has stepped up its military activity in the West Bank. At the same time, it has taken a series of steps to try to calm the situation, including granting thousands of Palestinians from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip permits to work inside Israel. The Israeli military said Monday it arrested 13 Palestinians suspected of militant activity in the West Bank.
Israelis are bracing for more violence. “I hope there won’t be an escalation but the potential exists. This is a period in which we have to be ready to deal with things in every sphere,” said Shaul Shay, a former deputy head of Israel’s national security council.
It is possible that Gaza, Jerusalem and Israeli cities with mixed Jewish and Arab populations could be drawn into the circle of violence, in a response to asymmetrical confrontations last year May involving devastating Israeli bombardments in Gaza, and Hamas rocket strikes that spread fear across Israel.
The former prime minister Ehud Olmert said it was hard for Israel to prevent attacks by individuals. “The problem is it appears these are not organised by a central body,” he said. “The less organised, the more difficult it is to monitor and stop.”
In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack while warning against actions by Jewish settlers that could fuel violence.
US President Joe Biden’s administration recently raised the idea of a top-level meeting between Israelis and Palestinians in the White House, Axios reported Thursday, but the initiative has seemingly stalled amid political turmoil in Jerusalem. The attempt of the US to negotiate such a meeting can be considered the most active stance the Biden administration has taken in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since last year’s war in Gaza.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. In the Featured Photo: Israeli soldiers operate in the northern West Bank, April 12, 2022. Featured Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces.