update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Palestinian terrorists detonate explosives near Samaria security fence

The remotely-detonated devices near Tulkarem were intended to draw IDF forces to the scene, where they could be ambushed, according to the military.

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.

Palestinian terrorists in Samaria on Sunday evening remotely detonated explosive devices near the security fence in the area of Tulkarem, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Monday.

“Upon investigation, it appears that the blast that occurred last night in the Tulkarem area of ​​the Menashe Division was caused by an explosive device from the Palestinian side of the seam zone,” the IDF tweeted, referring to the region east of the Green Line and west of the security fence.

The charge was “placed and activated remotely by terrorists hundreds of meters from the wall,” according to the military. The explosion was staged “in order to attract forces to the area of ​​the blast” and attack them upon arrival.

Kan News reported on Sunday that the incident involved two powerful IEDs that were placed in Shuweika, a satellite village of Tulkarem, near the fence bordering the Israeli town of Bat Hefer.

The blast took place only 60 meters (197 feet) from the fence and was preceded by rifle fire towards Bat Hefer, according to Kan.

Late last month, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich demanded swift government action after Palestinian terrorists opened fire on central Israeli towns from the area of Tulkarem twice in one week.

“Terrorism must be eradicated everywhere, even if it means Tulkarem will look like Gaza looks today,” tweeted Smotrich, who also oversees civilian issues in Judea and Samaria in the Defense Ministry.

Tulkarem, a village east of Netanya that borders the Green Line, is located only eight miles from Israel’s densely populated coastal plain.

Since the beginning of the war with Hamas on Oct. 7, the Israel Defense Forces has carried out intensive ground operations in Tulkarem, arresting hundreds of suspects and dismantling terrorist infrastructure, including explosives buried under roads, intended to kill IDF soldiers.

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 of 2000-05, per IDF data.

The Palestinian Authority, tasked with fighting terrorism under the Oslo Accords signed with Israel in the 1990s, has been unable or unwilling to put a stop to the attacks. Nearly 80 members of the P.A. security forces have been implicated in terrorism against Israelis over the past three years alone.

Asked during an interview on Sunday about the threat of the entire P.A. security apparatus turning their weapons against the Jewish state, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the IDF was preparing for this.

“We are allocating forces to it as we understand that such a thing can happen. There is no immunity for anyone; we operate in Tulkarem and everywhere and do not let up,” he told Channel 14‘s Yinon Magal.

The P.A. has one of the largest per capita security forces in the world, trained and armed by the United States and other Western nations. Members of the PASF have a long history of carrying out terror attacks. Last year, Fatah boasted that most of its “martyrs” served in the PASF.

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