Gallant holds meetings with top officials over unspecified ‘security incidents’

Consultations come after blast at Megiddo Junction, which is being investigated as a terror attack

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

File: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a security meeting with defense officials, January 28, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
File: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a security meeting with defense officials, January 28, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

In an unusual statement Tuesday, Yoav Gallant’s office said the defense minister had held a number of security assessments over the past day due to unspecified “security incidents.”

His office said the meetings were held with top army and defense officials, including military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi; the head of the Shin Bet, Ronen Bar; the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk; and head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva.

The officials presented Gallant with “preliminary findings from the investigation of the incidents,” Gallant’s office said.

“The defense minister instructed to continue efforts to ensure the daily routine of Israeli citizens,” it added.

The recent incidents were not detailed in the statement due to security concerns and ongoing investigations.

The meetings came a day after a mysterious explosion seriously wounded a man on a highway in northern Israel.

The scene of an apparent bombing at the Megiddo Junction in northern Israel, March 13, 2023. (Courtesy: Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Shin Bet security agency was involved in the investigation of the bombing on the Route 65 highway at the Megiddo Junction, which was thought to be a terror attack.

Shareef ad-Din, 21, from the Arab village of Salem, was seriously hurt in the suspected attack after being hit by shrapnel from the large bomb, which was believed to have been planted on the side of the highway.

The highway remained closed for around 10 hours as police searched the area for other possible explosive devices.

Recent months have seen a number of bombing attacks by Palestinians.

In November, an East Jerusalem Palestinian with Islamic State ties set off two bombs at two entrances to the capital, killing two and wounding more than 20 others.

On Friday morning, a Palestinian tried to break into a settlement farm in the West Bank with several improvised explosive devices, before being shot dead. And on Friday night, a Palestinian suspect was detained for allegedly planting a bomb on a bus in a West Bank settlement a night earlier.

In the West Bank over the past year, Palestinians have repeatedly hurled explosive devices at Israeli forces conducting counter-terrorism operations.

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