More troops sent to West Bank following uptick in attacks
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Clashes erupt in Halhul

More troops sent to West Bank following uptick in attacks

Forces to operate primarily in areas near Nablus and Jenin, as manhunt for Ariel stabber continues; several battalions also to be placed on stand-by

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Israeli soldiers on a lookout on Mount Gerizim, above the Palestinian city of Nablus, on February 7, 2018. (AFP / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Israeli soldiers on a lookout on Mount Gerizim, above the Palestinian city of Nablus, on February 7, 2018. (AFP / MENAHEM KAHANA)

The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday said that it was deploying additional battalions to the West Bank as reinforcements, following a recent uptick in terror attacks that have taken place over the Green Line, as well as a manhunt for a terror suspect.

The forces will operate primarily in the northern West Bank, where the primary points of friction have been, the army said. Several battalions will also be placed on stand-by.

Hours earlier, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the southern West Bank town of Halhul, as troops raided the home of the terrorist who stabbed a security guard in Gush Etzion’s Karmei Tzur settlement and then was shot dead.

On Monday, a terrorist fatally stabbed 29-year-old Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal outside the settlement of Ariel. The suspect, 19-year-old Abed al-Karim Assi, managed to flee the scene and remains at large.

Itamar Ben-Gal, right, who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist on February 5, 2018, pictured with his wife Miriam. (Courtesy) 

On Tuesday, troops raided two homes in Nablus, including one reportedly belonging to Assi’s father, amid a large-scale manhunt for the suspect. One Palestinian was killed and 47 others were injured in ensuing clashes with IDF soldiers as they left the area, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Ben-Gal’s widow, Miriam gave a video statement on Wednesday evening, saying that retribution for her husband’s murder could only come from building their settlement of Har Bracha into a large city.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach with his family, in an undated photo (Courtesy of the family)

“They (the terrorists) should know that such actions only lead to the further development of the Jewish people, to the strengthening of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel,” she said.

Ben-Gal’s murder came less than a month after Raziel Shevach was gunned down by Palestinian terrorists outside the northern West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad.

On Tuesday, Israeli troops shot dead Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, the suspected ringleader of a terror cell responsible for the Israeli father of six’s murder during a pre-dawn raid in the village of Yamoun, near Jenin.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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