IDF orders Air Force call-up; Israelis with permits told to carry their guns

Chief of staff orders bolstered defenses in the West Bank after two sisters killed in terror attack, as military also battles escalation with Lebanon, Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (left) at an assessment with senior commanders amid a multifront escalation, April 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi (left) at an assessment with senior commanders amid a multifront escalation, April 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

With the IDF tackling escalating multifront violence and terrorism, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on Friday ordered a call-up of an unspecified number of reservist soldiers.

In a statement following a security assessment, Halevi said the call-up was focused on air defense units and the “air attack arrays,” meaning fighter jet pilots and attack drone operators, as well as other aircrew.

Thursday afternoon saw a 34-rocket barrage fired at Israel from Lebanon — for which Israel blamed Hamas forces located there — and Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza and Lebanon. Gaza terrorists have also fired rockets at southern Israeli residential areas.

There have also been days of clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and unrest in several Israeli Arab cities.

Halevi also instructed the IDF to strengthen defenses in the Central Command, covering the West Bank, following a spate of attacks including a deadly terrorist shooting.

The IDF was searching for the suspects who carried out the Friday attack in the Jordan Valley, which left two sisters dead and their mother critically hurt.

The scene of a deadly terrorist shooting attack in the West Bank, near the settlement of Hamra, April 7, 2023. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Meanwhile, in the wake of that attack, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai urged licensed gun owners to carry their weapons.

“The motivation to disturb the peace has risen in recent days, and is a result of unrelenting incitement,” said Shabtai, referring also to the past days’ clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He said the security forces would target “anyone who disrupts public order,” while continuing to ensure “freedom of worship for all” and preserving “channels of discourse and dialogue.”

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