IDF says West Bank raids foiled some 500 terror attacks over past year
Military says over 2,500 suspects arrested in months-long operation; cites steep rise in settler attacks against Palestinians, including in usually non-violent areas
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
Citing Military Intelligence assessments, the Israel Defense Forces on Monday said it had foiled some 500 terror attacks in the past year, during a months-long operation in the West Bank.
According to the IDF, the army has arrested more than 2,500 terror suspects in the West Bank since late March, following a series of deadly attacks. The attacks have left 31 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year, including several soldiers.
The IDF said that of 3,000 individual arrest operations, 550 involved special forces. At least 250 weapons and NIS 2.7 million ($785,000) in cash allegedly intended for terror were seized in the operations.
Meanwhile, the IDF recorded at least 281 shooting attacks and attempts against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank this year, compared to just 91 last year.
During the operations, around 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, according to the Palestinian Authority. The IDF says many of them — though not all — were killed while carrying out attacks or during fierce clashes with security forces amid the near-nightly raids.
Much of the operation has been focused on the northern West Bank cities of Nablus and Jenin, long considered a hotspot for terror. According to IDF assessments, some 25 percent of the Jenin refugee camp — where troops have repeatedly come under fire during arrest raids — is affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.
Settler attacks on the rise
The IDF also said there has been a steep rise in settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, recording 838 incidents this year, compared to 446 last year and 353 in 2020.
The attacks included stone-throwing attacks against Palestinians and incidents of vandalism commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks. Perpetrators call them retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.
Of the settler attacks this year, just 14 were considered by the IDF to be “serious” ones, where Palestinians were injured or property was seriously damaged.
The IDF did not provide an exact number, but asserted that there were fewer serious settler attacks this year than last.
Only 101 police investigations into settler attacks were opened this year, and just 28 indictments were filed.
The IDF said settler attacks this year were no longer only coming from settlements or illegal outposts considered extremist, such as the Yitzhar area, but also from supposedly moderate areas.