The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) remains on high alert across the West Bank Friday, as the search continues for Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, the Israeli-Arab man who stabbed and killed Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal on Monday in Ariel.
The IDF increased its deployment of soldiers in the West Bank this week after concluding that two recent terrorist attacks could potentially inspire similar attacks. Security agencies are also concerned that protests following Friday prayers could result in increased violence.
Security assessments indicate that clashes are likely to continue over the course of the next few days. There are also indications that both organized cells and individuals intend to carry out additional attacks. The increased deployment of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, which includes elite counter terrorism units, will also bolster security on roads and bus stops at busy crossing points, a well-known security weakness where attacks have often taken place. Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces are also being deployed in greater numbers to reduce the likelihood of violent attacks.
On Thursday, the IDF detected a weapons smuggling depot in the village of Deir Razih, southwest of Hebron. Six Palestinian suspects were arrested and Israeli soldiers seized seven guns, four commando knives, thousands of bullets and other military equipment. According to the IDF spokesperson: “This was a compound that belongs to a weapons dealer who was arrested at the scene, along with five other suspects who were handed over for interrogation.”
Also on Thursday, a Palestinian man tried to stab an IDF soldier at a guard post outside the Al Fawwar refugee camp in the West Bank. The attacker was apprehended without causing any injuries and the suspect was detained for questioning.