update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Hamas terrorists fire at central Israel from Samaria

The group said it committed the attack in response to an IDF airstrike in Rafah that targeted two Hamas senior leaders who operate outside the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli town of Bat Hefer backdropped by the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, situated on the western edge of northern Samaria, Jan. 4, 2024. Photo by Shahar Yaari/Flash90.
The Israeli town of Bat Hefer backdropped by the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, situated on the western edge of northern Samaria, Jan. 4, 2024. Photo by Shahar Yaari/Flash90.

Hamas published footage of masked terrorists on Monday opening fire with automatic weapons at Bat Hefer, an Israeli village east of Netanya that borders the Green Line with Samaria, Channel 12 News reported.

In the footage, two Palestinians wearing Hamas headbands declare their allegiance to the Gaza-based terrorist organization. The video also includes a photo of the weapons they used to carry out the attack.

The alleged shooting towards central Israel did not cause any casualties, according to Channel 12. Hamas said that it committed the attack in response to Sunday night’s Israel Defense Forces airstrike in Rafah, which targeted Yassin Rabia, the head of Hamas’s Judea and Samaria headquarters, and Khaled Nagar, a senior official in the group’s Judea and Samaria wing.

Also on Monday, some 30 Palestinians advanced toward Bat Hefer after they managed to climb over the Samaria security fence near Tulkarem, local media reported. Security camera footage showed the infiltrators climbing the wall using a rope and entering vehicles on the other side.

The IDF said in a statement to Channel 12 that it was aware of the problems with the security fence and was working to address the issue.

“Earlier today, infiltrators crossed in the area near Tulkarm. Upon receiving the report, forces immediately made their way to the site and arrested 19 infiltrators near the fence,” the military stated.

The IDF also noted that during the past few years, a new battalion and special units were established to protect the Seam Line, and the rules for opening fire were changed.

“As a result, there has been a significant decrease in the number of infiltrators,” the IDF said.

The IDF has been looking into recent complaints by residents of Bat Hefer of tunneling sounds coming from the direction of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas near the Judea and Samaria security barrier.

Meanwhile, an umbrella organization uniting civilian security squads has warned that Palestinian terrorist groups in Samaria could attack Israeli cities in the central Sharon region using paragliders, similar to the way Hamas terrorists did in the south during the Oct. 7 massacre.

“Terrorists can infiltrate by air from Jenin, Tulkarem and Qalqilya to communities along the Seam Line and nearby cities within minutes,” said Sharon Turgeman, chairman of the Hineni Forum, which represents some 350 security teams with thousands of volunteers all over Israel.

Following Oct. 7, several local authorities in the Sharon region decided to purchase radar systems to warn of terrorist aerial infiltrations. The first town where the system was installed was Kadima-Zoran, located less than four miles from the terror hub of Tulkarem.

Last week, Channel 13 News reported that soldiers stationed in the area of Bat Hefer opened fire after two drones crossed the security fence from the direction of Tulkarem and Shuweika. The IDF forces reportedly missed, and the UAVs were said to have returned to the villages.

Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005, per IDF data.

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