Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday that Israel’s security forces thwarted between 20 and 30 terror attacks in the West Bank each week over the past few months.
“In the Central Command, and especially in the area of Hebron’s old city, a large-scale operation to thwart [attacks] has been undertaken in recent months — between 20 and 30 each week — in response to an increasing effort by terrorist forces,” Liberman said during a tour of Hebron.
“The vast majority of terror attacks we have succeeded in severing, thanks to high-quality intelligence, an intelligent troop deployment and advanced technologies,” he said.
The ever-volatile West Bank city where the defense minister made his remarks is home to over 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jewish settlers, as well as the Tomb of the Patriarchs pilgrimage site, according to tradition the burial place of several biblical patriarchs and matriarchs.
The restive Hebron has been the site of numerous attacks against Israeli troops and civilians in recent years, and is also the hometown of many terrorists who carried out attacks elsewhere in the West Bank and Israel.
Many analysts ascribe this to the constant friction between Palestinians and Israeli troops, which does not take place inside other Palestinian cities; Hebron is the only one in which Israeli settlers also live and thus requires a constant military presence.
During his tour of the security arrangements in the city, Liberman was also shown the results of a joint army-police raid from earlier that morning in which Israeli troops seized a Kalashnikov assault rifle, two handguns, ammunition and other military gear.
Liberman was joined by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, top military liaison to the Palestinians Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai and outgoing head of the IDF’s Central Command Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, who will leave his position next week.
The defense minister praised Numa for his work over the past three years as the head of the Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank. Numa’s time in the position saw a spate of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings in 2015 and 2016, as well as more recent unrest in the West Bank following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
“Roni, with determination, meticulousness and a lot of wisdom and creativity, the Central Command under your direction has succeeded in defeating, almost entirely, the wave of terror and knife attacks, and has preserved stability in a complicated situation,” Liberman said.
Numa’s replacement, Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan, also took part in the visit, and the defense minister wished him luck in his new position.