March 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Suspected Terrorists Arrested in Israel’s Largest Operation in Ramallah in Years

March 4, 2024 | Flash Brief

Suspected Terrorists Arrested in Israel’s Largest Operation in Ramallah in Years

Latest Developments

Israeli forces arrested two wanted individuals during a counter-terrorism raid in Ramallah on March 4. The six-hour-long operation in al-Am’ari was the largest in years.

Palestinians began to riot during the operation, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces that injured an Israeli border police officer. Israeli forces responded with live fire, killing a 16-year-old Palestinian. Besides the suspects arrested during the operation, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its forces confiscated “incendiary material published by Hamas.” The same night, Israel also conducted operations in Nur Shams, Hebron, Deir Amar, Tubas, and Nablus. In Nablus, the military demolished the apartment of one of the terrorists who killed Israeli civilians Lucy, Maia, and Rina Dee last April. Israeli forces arrested 13 wanted persons throughout the West Bank.

Israeli security forces also revealed on March 4 that it had arrested four members of a terrorist cell during a joint operation near Hebron the previous month that was planning an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack. Israeli forces also found 100 explosive devices, which the suspects made using online instruction and guidance from the cell’s leader. The suspects also possessed M-16 rifles and Carlo-style submachine guns.

Expert Analysis

“Israel’s continued operations in the West Bank against Palestinian terror groups are important. The results of recent IDF raids illustrate that Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas are seeking to enflame the West Bank. Hamas has sought to exploit its October 7 massacre to increase its influence over Palestinians in cities throughout the West Bank. To confront this, it is essential that Israel be supported in its operations against these groups and their desire to destabilize the region.” Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Terrorism in the West Bank presents a different challenge for Israel compared to Gaza, as it involves not only established terrorist groups but also individuals who are not associated with these organizations. Individuals are often inspired to carry out attacks while using any means available to target Israeli troops and civilians, making the situation more complex and unpredictable for Israel’s defense establishment.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Palestinian Terrorism Increases in West Bank

Over the last two-and-a-half years, the West Bank has experienced a level of violence not seen since the Second Intifada in 2000-2005. The epicenter of this upheaval is primarily in the northern West Bank, where terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have exploited the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) weakness by consolidating their presence within cities like Jenin, Tulkarm, and Nablus. Israeli forces have acted against terrorists and their infrastructure in the West Bank, filling the vacuum left by the PA’s security forces.

PA Failing to Reform

The Biden administration has repeatedly said that a “revitalized” PA should govern Gaza after the war. However, concerns remain over the PA’s ability to govern an independent Palestinian state, especially one ruled in coordination with Hamas. Abbas, who is in the 20th year of a four-year term, has presided over a corrupt and ineffective government that has lost legitimacy among the Palestinian people.

The results of an opinion poll of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza published on December 13 showed that 92 percent of West Bank residents wanted Abbas to resign, while support for Hamas — the Iran-backed terrorist group that massacred Israelis on October 7 — increased. Fifty-seven percent of respondents in Gaza and 82 percent of respondents in the West Bank said that Hamas was right to launch the attack. The PA also continues to provide controversial welfare payments for Palestinian terrorists or their surviving families and allows Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups to operate in the West Bank without significant limitations.

Israel Uncovers Massive Explosives Stash in West Bank Operation,” FDD Flash Brief

West Bank Imminent Terrorist Attack Thwarted by Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Support for Hamas Surges in the West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief


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