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Shin Bet chief says agency operating in Gaza as well

Visiting West Bank, Bennett says Israel on lookout for any ‘hint’ of attack

‘Terrorists have all kinds of ideas, so we’re on high alert,’ PM says after series of deadly attacks and shootouts between troops and Palestinian assailants

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar (R) are seen during a visit to the security service's regional command in the northern West Bank and the security barrier, on April 3, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar (R) are seen during a visit to the security service's regional command in the northern West Bank and the security barrier, on April 3, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Visiting the Shin Bet security agency’s northern West Bank headquarters, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that Israel is entering a period of “vigilant routine” as security forces work to prevent further terror attacks.

“Terrorists have all kinds of ideas, so we are on high alert, both the Shin Bet and the Israel Police, to identify any hint of an idea or plan for an attack, and thwart it in advance,” Bennett said, after troops killed three gunmen who were allegedly en route from the Jenin area to carry out an attack in Israel in the predawn hours of Saturday.

Bennett said the Israel Defense Forces are also on high alert along the West Bank security barrier, after a gap in the fence was utilized by a Palestinian who killed five people in a shooting attack in Bnei Brak last week.

A series of deadly terror attacks killed 11 people in Israel in a week, including the shooting in Bnei Brak, putting Israeli security forces on heightened alert. The escalation has come as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was set to begin— often a period of high tension in Israel and the West Bank.

“Our goal is to break the wave” of attacks, Bennett said.

“We are now entering a period of ‘vigilant routine,’ where we want the citizens of Israel to return to [their daily] routine and the security forces to be on high alert,” he said.

IDF soldiers are seen operating in the West Bank, in an image published by the military on April 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar said the security agency is operating “in many theaters” — Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.

He said the Shin Bet is “a sharp, determined, skilled organization that learns while on the move and under fire.”

“On Saturday we were under fire together with our brothers from the [police counterterror unit] Yamam. We thwarted a significant attack,” Bar said of the incident near Jenin, during which an elite officer was seriously hurt.

On Sunday, the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa said the officer’s condition had improved, and that he was communicating with his family and able to breathe on his own, while still making use of a ventilator.

“The medical staff is optimistic about his condition, with hopes to release him from intensive care in the coming days,” Rambam said in a statement.

Chief Superintendent S., a senior commander in the Yamam counter-terrorism unit, speaks to the Kan public broadcaster, September 19, 2021. (Screenshot: Kan public broadcaster)

Israel has ramped up security measures in response to the attacks and deployed additional forces to the West Bank, Gaza border and major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Israeli officials have sought to quell the tensions as Ramadan begins amid fears that the violence could snowball into the same type of unrest that rocked Israel in May 2021 when Hamas began shooting rockets into Israel, sparking an 11-day war with Gaza and days of rioting between Arabs and Jews inside Israel.

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