update deskIsrael at War

Terrorists who entered Israel from Jordan planned Tel Aviv attack

The suspects planned to strike in the Jaffa neighborhood.

The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.
The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.

Two terrorists who crossed into Israel from Jordan and were arrested in the Jordan Valley on Friday night are suspected of plotting a major terrorist attack in the Tel Aviv area.

A civilian security team detained the suspects in fields near Moshav Petza’el, a farming community located some four miles from the border, with at least one of them carrying a Kalashnikov rifle and ammunition, the HaKol HaYehudi outlet reported on Monday. Security officials also found Qurans on their persons.

According to the report, the terrorists had crossed into Israel undetected approximately 24 hours earlier, staying in the border area for some time before heading northwest towards Petza’el.

During an interrogation carried out by the community’s chief of security, the suspects stated their intention to continue to Tel Aviv’s Jaffa neighborhood and carry out an attack.

The terrorists were transferred to Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) custody for further interrogation. While the security forces have yet to establish if the two are affiliated with a specific terrorist organization, intelligence assessments indicate that a significant attack was foiled.

Many Israeli towns and villages, particularly in Judea and Samaria, have volunteer defense squads. Armed and trained by the state, and mainly composed of former members of the military or law-enforcement, their purpose is to act as a first-response force in cases of terrorist infiltration.

Earlier this month, local security units and Israel Defense Forces soldiers apprehended six infiltrators who crossed the border from Jordan. The group was apparently seeking employment in Israel.

Israel’s frontier with Jordan extends 192 miles, making it the Jewish state’s longest border. Jerusalem signed a peace treaty with Amman in 1994, but the kingdom has a majority Palestinian population and its government has taken a hostile tone since the start of the current Israel-Hamas war.

During a July 2023 meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told lawmakers that the IDF has noticed an increase in Tehran’s involvement in transferring arms and know-how into Israeli territory.

Jerusalem subsequently announced plans to build an improved security barrier along the country’s eastern border in an attempt to thwart Iranian efforts to smuggle weapons into Judea and Samaria.

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