The Israel Defence Forces deployed an additional infantry battalion to the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday evening, following two days of attacks against soldiers and civilians, the army said.
The decision to reinforce the flashpoint locale with the Kfir Brigade’s Shimshon Battalion was made “in accordance with situation assessments following recent terror attacks,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The motivation and inspiration to carry out attacks against Israelis remains strong. That’s why the IDF is strengthening its operational and intelligence efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground and deter these acts of terror,” a military official said, speaking anonymously.
The five attacks on Friday and Saturday — three stabbings, a car ramming and a rock throwing — caught many Israelis by surprise, as the violence that marked 2015 and early 2016 appeared to have waned in recent months, and raised fears that regular attacks could return.
“[The Eid al-Adha holiday] and September are always more susceptible to spikes in violent Palestinian activities,” the official said.
However, he noted, though the attacks over the weekend were “of course a change from recent weeks, we can not currently point to any major change on the ground that indicates it will increase.”
On Saturday morning an IDF soldier was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The assailant, identified as Hatem Abdel-Hafiz al-Shaloudi, was shot and killed by security forces near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of the city, the army said.
A video from the scene showed al-Shaloudi approaching a soldier at a checkpoint near the West Bank city’s Jewish Tel Rumeida neighborhood and presenting him with a piece of paper, ostensibly his identification papers. The moment the soldier accepts the paper and glances down at it, Shaloudi is seen pulling out a knife and lunging at him.
Friday had seen four attacks against Israelis.
On Friday morning, a Jordanian national was shot and killed as he attempted to stab a Border Police officer at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
Less than an hour later, a soldier shot and killed a Palestinian man and seriously wounded a Palestinian woman who allegedly carried out a car-ramming attack outside the Kiryat Arba settlement next to Hebron.
On Friday afternoon, a bus driver was also lightly wounded when unidentified perpetrators threw rocks and glass bottles full of paint at his vehicle on the highway between Jerusalem and the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
Finally on Friday evening, a soldier was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in Hebron. The assailant was shot and killed by forces at the Gilbert checkpoint near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
The Hebron area, where Palestinians, Israeli settlers and soldiers live in close proximity, has been a frequent scene of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians, as well as terror attacks by Palestinian assailants.
In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone wolf” Palestinian terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed in the past year, with the Israeli army and police saying that most of those killed were attackers or involved in clashes with security forces.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report
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