update deskIsrael at War

Israel may arm Judea and Samaria communities with anti-tank weapons

IDF commanders have not expressed any objections to the proposal.

The Israeli community of Eli in Samaria's Binyamin region, Jan. 17, 2021. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.
The Israeli community of Eli in Samaria's Binyamin region, Jan. 17, 2021. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.

Israeli officials are considering a proposal to provide security squads in a limited number of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria with anti-tank missiles to fend off an Oct. 7-style attack by Palestinian terrorists, the Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday.

IDF commanders have not expressed any reservations so far and the proposal is awaiting the approval of senior security officials, Haaretz reported.

The plan calls for allocating missiles to civilian security units of isolated Judea and Samaria towns and other communities located close to villages controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Since Hamas launched its current war against the Jewish state on Oct. 7, the Israeli government has established hundreds of additional civilian security squads, also known as standby squads.

Standby squads are made up of local residents, usually army veterans, who train together and are qualified to use automatic rifles. They serve as first-response teams, holding down the fort until IDF troops arrive.

At least two kibbutzim in the northwestern Negev were saved during Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks because of such squads.

Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15 alone, the Hatzalah Judea and Samaria rescue group recorded more than 2,600 terrorist attacks against Israelis in the area, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults.

In recent weeks, the IDF has been investigating possible infiltration tunnels Israeli forces discovered near Jewish communities in the Hebron Hills in Judea and Shiloh in Samaria’s Binyamin region.

The IDF has also been looking into complaints by residents of Bat Hefer, a village east of Netanya, of tunneling sounds coming from the direction of P.A.-controlled areas near the Judea and Samaria security barrier.

Last month, the IDF carried out a drill simulating an Oct. 7-like scenario in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The exercise drilled one of several scenarios the military is preparing for following the invasion of the Negev by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, in which some 1,200 people were murdered.

During the attack, some of the Hamas terrorists reportedly used North Korean F-7s rocket-propelled grenade launchers to take out armored vehicles. The weapons are believed to have been sold first to Iran and then passed on to the Palestinian terrorist group.

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