Spate of drive-by shootings sparks concerns of copycat attacks, but defense officials believe phenomenon will not spread outside Samaria • As hunt for Givat Asaf killers continues, IDF official says it is “only a matter of time” before they are caught.
(December 16, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Defense officials said over the weekend that the latest wave of terrorist attacks can probably be contained, and that while copycat drive-by shooting attacks are a matter of concern, it is unlikely they will spread outside Samaria.
Meanwhile, the hunt for the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack that killed two Israeli soldiers in Givat Asaf on Thursday continued on Sunday.
”It’s only a matter of time before we get our hands on the cell’s members,” one IDF officer said.
A source familiar with the operation told Israel Hayom that military activity was focusing on thwarting future terrorist attacks, protecting Jewish settlements and roads in the region, and conducting raids and arrests.
The recent spate of terrorist attacks has prompted the IDF to increase deployment across Judea and Samaria, setting up 120 roadblocks in the area. Dozens of Hamas members suspected of terrorist activity were arrested across the West Bank over the weekend, the IDF said.
The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet was expected to devote most of its meeting Sunday to the uptick in Palestinian violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also currently the acting defense minister, has ordered the IDF to expedite the demolition of the homes of the terrorists involved in last week’s attacks, as well as step up military counterterrorism activities across Judea and Samaria.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is slated to visit Jordan on Monday, where he will discuss “recent developments in the Palestinian arena” with King Abdullah.
An Israeli defense official told Israel Hayom that Abbas has instructed Palestinian security forces to crack down on the armed factions in the West Bank to avoid further escalations.
As part of these measures, Abbas’ security forces barred Hamas operatives in the West Bank from marking the terrorist group’s 31st anniversary over the weekend.
In the Gaza Strip, which Hamas rules, the event was marked with mass rallies.