Funerals have been held across the West Bank after a deadly terror attack claimed the lives of four Jews yesterday.
Funerals for two of the victims, 18-year-old Elisha Antman and 21-year-old Harel Masoud, were held on Tuesday night, while 17-year-old Nahman Shmuel Mordof and 63-year-old Ofer Fierman were laid to rest on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We have already proven in recent months that we settle accounts with all murderers, without exception. Everyone who has attacked us is either in a grave or in prison. That will be the case here as well.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Wednesday agreed on the immediate approval of planning for approximately 1,000 new houses in Eli.
Hamas claimed the two terrorists, Muhannad Shehadeh and Khaled Mustafa Sabah, as members. The Israel Defense Forces has begun mapping out and measuring their homes for demolition, though their families are expected to file a legal appeal.
The attack is believed to be in retaliation for a targeted arrest operation in Jenin on Monday that resulted in a “massive” gunfight breaking out between the IDF and armed militants in the area. The exchange led to the deaths of six Palestinian gunmen and one non-combatant 15-year-old girl who succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday.
Eight Israeli soldiers were injured and evacuated, according to the IDF. For the first time since the Second Intifada more than 20 years ago, the deployment of an IDF helicopter gunship to the area was deemed necessary to support the extraction of troops.
Tuesday’s deadly attack near Eli, compounded by the Palestinian Authority’s inability to maintain control over the Jenin and Nablus areas, has amplified voices in Israel calling for an offensive military operation against Palestinian militant groups in the northern West Bank.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben- Gvir said on Tuesday that the “time has come” for an all-out military operation in the area to “resume targeted killings from the air, to bring buildings down, to set up roadblocks, to expel terrorists”.
But the IDF leadership is currently opposed to launching a large-scale operation and favours continuing targeted raids against specific individuals based on intelligence.
Some officials have argued that if a wider operation is inevitable, then it would be prudent to strike before a major terror attack can be carried out on the Jewish State.
The IDF has said that it is not in favour of setting up more internal West Bank checkpoints because it harms non-combatant Palestinians and creates more stationary targets for terrorists.
Despite this, greater numbers of troops are expected to be deployed across the West Bank to increase the sense of security and to prevent further vigilante violence by settlers.
28 Israelis, the majority of them civilians, have so far been killed in terror attacks this year. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed over the same period, the overwhelming majority being militants.