Kfir Brigade soldiers training at an IDF urban warfare center. (Israel Defense Forces) (Israel Defense Forces)
Kfir Brigade

Had they succeeded, the cell’s attacks “could have spread to Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Afula and anywhere else,” said Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

By Gil Tanenbaum, TPS

The IDF Spokesman’s office released a formal statement on Saturday night’s raid against Hamas, conducted in a joint operation by different Israeli security forces groups.

The mission was carried out as part of ongoing coordinated intelligence and operational activities of the Central Command, the Intelligence Division, the Shin Bet (or General Security Service, Israel’s security police), the Judea and Samaria IDF Special Forces units that deal with terrorism, and the Judea and Samaria special forces units of the police.

There have been a series of joint operations carried out in recent weeks against an armed military infrastructure of the Hamas terrorist organization. On Saturday night these forces acted to arrest wanted persons in five different operations in Judea and Samaria.

During the night raids on terrorist sites, reports the IDF, at least five terrorists were killed, others wounded; a number of terrorists were captured, and weapons were seized. The operation was conducted through a special joint coordinating team of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the police.

During the arrest of one wanted suspect by a force from the IDF’s vaunted Duvdevan anti-terrorism unit, which was made in the village of Burkin, a short exchange of gunfire ensued. This occurred in the courtyard of a house where the arrest was made. The gunfire resulted in the wounding of an IDF officer known only as Captain D and a sergeant referred to as Sergeant Y. The IDF does not reveal the identities of its special forces unit members. The two were said to have been seriously wounded when they engaged the terrorist.

The terrorist was apprehended, and weapons used by the wanted persons were seized at the scene. The wounded were evacuated by helicopter to the Rambam medical center in Haifa

The IDF says that it is investigating the possibility that the two may have been hit by friendly fire.

Shortly afterward, short range gunfire was directed at a Border Police undercover unit operating in Burkin. They returned fire, neutralizing the terrorists. The same unit also arrested a different terrorist who fired on them from a passing vehicle.

The IDF Chief of General Staff, Major General Aviv Kochavi, visited the Menashe Regional Brigade Sunday, where he conducted a situation assessment.

The IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, described Saturday night’s mission as a significant achievement. The killing of the wanted terrorists, said Kochavi, prevented Israel from having to undergo a series of “significant terrorist attacks.”

“These are attacks that could have spread to Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Afula and anywhere else,” he said. “This is an operational intelligence achievement, and this is an extraordinary cooperation between the IDF, the Shin Bet, the police.”

He added that these types of operations conducted by Israel’s security forces allow for “security for the State of Israel in the Judea and Samaria area — and not just there,” noting the cell’s plans to commit attacks across Israel.

The IDF Chief of Staff also commended the soldiers and police who took part in the actions, saying that they performed their duties with great professionalism and courage. “From here, I send my best wishes to the wounded fighters from tonight’s encounter, we will continue to act at all times in every arena and sector, in order to ensure protection for the citizens of the State of Israel,” he said.