At least 10 terror attacks foiled in past two weeks, IDF chief says

Military head says ‘This is the IDF’s main mission at the moment,’ amid string of deadly attacks, West Bank gun battles with terror suspects

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF soldiers are seen operating in the West Bank, in an image published by the military on April 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers are seen operating in the West Bank, in an image published by the military on April 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi said Monday that the Israel Defense Forces had foiled nearly a dozen terror attacks in the past two weeks, amid heightened tensions following several deadly attacks, as well as gunbattles with terror group members in the West Bank.

“At least 10 terror attacks have been prevented in the past two weeks, thanks to intelligence and operations. Even at this moment, we are focused on thwarting further attacks,” Kohavi said at an Air Force ceremony.

“This is the IDF’s main mission at the moment. We will act wherever, as required, and using all methods to stop terrorism,” he added.

There were no details about the thwarted attacks. Israeli security forces often keep operations under wraps for months, only occasionally publicizing details when suspects are charged.

A series of deadly terror attacks in Israel within a span of eight days late last month left 11 people dead and put Israeli security forces on heightened alert. Tensions have remained high, with some fearing the violence could snowball into a repeat of violence seen nearly a year ago, when Israel battled Gazan terror groups and rioting broke out in mixed Jewish-Arab cities.

Leaders have vowed to crack down on terror since the attacks, launching Operation Breakwater, which has targeted individuals suspected of planning future attacks.

On Saturday, Israeli troops killed three Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen who were allegedly en route from the Jenin area to carry out an attack in Israel. Two other alleged gunmen were killed during a raid in the West Bank city on Thursday.

IDF soldiers are seen operating in the West Bank, in an image published by the military on April 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Sunday night, undercover officers from the police’s Yamam counterterrorism unit arrested a Palestinian man suspected of planning a terror attack on the Route 6 highway.

Dozens of Palestinians have also been detained over their alleged connection to the recent deadly attacks.

The escalation in fighting has come as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins — often a period of high tension in Israel and the West Bank.

Israel has ramped up security measures in response to the attacks and deployed additional forces to the West Bank, Gaza border and major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Incoming air force chief Tomer Bar (R), outgoing air force chief Amikam Norkin (C), and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (L) are seen at a changing ceremony on April 4, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

At the ceremony Monday, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar took over as the new head of the Israeli Air Force, replacing Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, who has served in the position for five years.

Bar, 52, previously lead the military’s Force Design Directorate, which is tasked with overseeing the development of new combat and weapons techniques. According to Channel 12 news, Bar participated in a low flyover over the palace of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a number of years ago, shattering its windows in a warning.

Norkin, who has led the air force since 2017, will retire from the military after some 37 years.

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