West Bank attacks continue

A Palestinian man seriously injured an Israeli soldier with a rock this morning at an army post outside the Beit El settlement, close to the site of a shooting attack yesterday in which two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Sergeant Yovel Moryosef and Corporal Yosef Cohen were killed yesterday at the Assaf junction and a third soldier is in critical condition. Israeli army sources believe that the attackers stole one of the rifles belonging to the soldiers.

The Israeli army said it had arrested 40 suspects in the last two days and 37 are known Hamas operatives. A senior Israel Defence Forces (IDF) commander suggested that the same Hamas terror cell was responsible for the shooting attacks on Thursday and Sunday.

Israeli forces are on high alert, after both Fatah and Hamas called for a “day of rage” on Friday to protest ‘Israeli crimes.’ In a statement, Fatah called for the Palestinian people “to be alert, to escalate the confrontation, and to activate the security committees to defend our villages in every part of our land”. Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, said: “Our standing policy is to reject violence, incursions and the terrorism of settlers”. PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, tweeted: “we begin by praying for the souls of our righteous martyrs, and we call the international community to intervene immediately… to halt the Israeli aggression”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas that Israel would take action if it employed terrorism and said that there would not be a situation of a cease-fire in Gaza and fire in the West Bank. Netanyahu ordered the demolition of terrorists’ homes be expedited and said he had decided to legalise 2,000 homes in Israeli settlements.

Netanyahu is under pressure from political opponents to tackle the series of attacks this week. Bezalel Smotrich, an MK from the Jewish Home Party, which is in coalition with Netanyahu, demanded that Highway 60, from Nazareth to Be’er Sheva via the West Bank, be closed to “Arab vehicles”. Tzipi Livni from the opposition Zionist Union, accused Netanyahu of having “lost control of security”.