Fatah, the Palestinian party that governs in the so-called West Bank, has called on Palestinians to escalate the situation and hold further protests “to commemorate the Martyrs and to realise our goals.”
The organisation, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, warned IDF soldiers and settlers of “the continued bloodshed and aggression that will lead to a stronger confrontation.”
It comes as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the security would be stepped up after a week that saw four terror attacks: A drive-by shooting on Sunday in Orfa that led to the death of a baby boy who was delivered prematurely after his mother was critically hurt along with six others; then the murder of two off-duty Israeli soldiers in a similar attack, a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City also on Thursday, and an attempted car-ramming.
On Thursday, terror group Hamas, which controls Gaza, praised the shooting attack that killed two Israelis and injured two others near Givat Asad earlier in the day.
“Hamas praises the numerous resistance attacks as well as the citizens of the occupied West Bank and the revolutionary youth,” Hamas Spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou said. The attack, he said, “is in response to the crimes of the Zionist occupation in the occupied West Bank. Our members will stand against the occupation and will resist it – until it ends.”
Fatah placed the blame for the attack on Israel.
“When the occupation army harms and destroys Palestinian land and Israeli soldiers execute three Palestinians in a kangaroo court, they have to understand that the Palestinian response will be in proportion to the aggression,” said Fatah spokesperson Munir Jaghoub.
“Israel’s leaders must understand that they are not able to protect their soldiers, and they have tried every way they can think of to make Palestinians raise the white flag of surrender,” Jaghoub said. “Israel has no way of protecting its soldiers and the murderous settlers, aside from withdrawing to the June 1967 lines.”
After consulting with top security officials for several hours, Netanyahu announced that Israel would take following security measures moving forward:
- Accelerate demolition of terrorists’ homes (within 48 hours);
- Ramp up efforts to apprehend the terrorists responsible for this week’s attacks;
- Increase administrative detention of Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria;
- Reinforce IDF units in Judea and Samaria;
- Protect roads in Judea and Samaria with checkpoints;
- Place a cordon around El-Bireh; and
- Revoke permits of terrorist family members and accomplices.
Late Wednesday, Israel killed Salah Barghouti, one of the terrorist suspects in Sunday’s Ofra shooting, and overnight its forces killed Ashraf Naalweh, who was the primary terror suspect in the execution-style killing of two Israeli civilians in Samaria’s Barkan industrial park two months ago.
Both men were said to have been armed.
In Jerusalem’s Old City, meanwhile, Israeli police killed a Palestinian attacker who stabbed two officers.
Late Thursday, the army shot and killed a Palestinian motorist in an attempted car ramming attack.
Israeli officials accuse the Hamas terror group of being behind the recent shootings. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist, said that Barghouti and Naalweh both were members.