Security officials reportedly expect a recent wave of deadly terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank to last throughout the entire year.
Israel’s security forces have struggled to put a lid on the Palestinian violence, despite large deployments of troops and police, and other efforts to crack down on terror activity.
According to the Kan public broadcaster, officials believe the attacks will continue for several more months, possibly lasting for an entire year, similar to a wave of attacks in late 2015 and throughout 2016. The network did not say what information the pessimistic assessment was based on.
Three people were killed Thursday night in an attack by axe- and knife-wielding terrorists in Elad, bringing the death toll from terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank since March 22 to 19.
A security official quoted by the network said at least 66 terror attacks were foiled since mid-March, the beginning of the wave of recent attacks. The source added that more than 500 individuals suspected of terror activity have been arrested.
The army has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence by arresting Palestinians involved in carrying out or planning attacks.
The ensuing raids sparked clashes that left at least 27 Palestinians dead. Many of those took part in the clashes, while others appeared to have been civilians.
There have also been frequent clashes between Palestinians and police on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in recent weeks, which officials believe is fueling some of the attacks. The violence echoed scenes from last year when rioting at the site helped spark a war between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups led by Hamas.
In a Saturday speech, Yahya Sinwar, chief of the Hamas terror group in Gaza, threatened violent consequences should Jewish Israelis continue visiting the site.
While Hamas has not taken responsibility for most of the attacks since March 22, Sinwar has repeatedly called for Palestinians to assault Israelis and the group has publicly praised the perpetrators, encouraging more attacks.