The IDF does not see a direct connection between all of the five terrorist attacks that occurred on Friday and Saturday, but security officials in Israel nonetheless fear that such a wave of ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks may inspire others. These concerns are amplified by the fact that the Jewish New Year and the sensitive period of the High Holy Days are about two weeks away – with Rosh Hashanah starting on October 2.
This is why a total closure has been placed on the town of Bani Na’im, east of Hevron (only allowing for exceptions in cases of humanitarian need), which was the home of the terrorist who attempted the vehicular attack at Elias Junction in Kiryat Arba on Friday and was subsequently shot and eliminated. The town, which is located near Hevron and to the east, has also been home to a number of other terrorists in the past year. Now there are concerns that the Friday terrorist’s relatives may seek revenge, or gather inspiration to perpetrate their own terror attacks.
The IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division commanders have decided to not, as of yet, reinforce its territorial brigades beyond usual weekend parameters, although several battalions are expected to join security efforts once ahead of Rosh Hashanah.
However, security forces in Judea and Samaria have been instructed to stay aware, especially when on patrol and when in sensitive areas. Judea and Samaria Division officials specifically praised the actions of soldiers from the Nahal Brigade’s 50th Battalion, which has been responsible for the Hevron area in the past few months. Soldiers from the battalion prevented the escalation of several attacks in the past two days, including the two stabbing attacks in Hevron – one on Friday, the other on Saturday.
Friday’s stabbing attack was the first at Hevron’s Gilbert Checkpoint since the attack that occurred in March, in whose aftermath IDF Sergeant Elor Azaria shot a terrorist. Since then, the guard position has been upgraded, with the intention of increasing the distance between Arabs undergoing security checks and soldiers. Hevron Territorial Brigade officials are investigating how the attack occurred despite these upgrades.
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