21-22 January 2002

IDF Activity in Tulkarem
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Beginning Sunday night (January 20), IDF infantry, armor, engineering, and border police forces entered the city of Tulkarem, which is in Palestinian Authority territory.

The city of Tulkarem is used as a focal point for dispatching terrorist attacks, and many terrorist infrastructures and terrorists are located within the city.

Tulkarem has produced a large number of terror attacks that cost the lives of many Israelis. It was also the place from where the terrorist who carried out the terrorist shooting attack in Hadera last Thursday (January 17), in which six Israelis were killed and 30 were wounded, set out.

During the current operation, IDF forces seized control of positions within the city, and are conducting searches and detentions of terrorists, as well as locating and destroying terrorist infrastructure – this in light of the fact that the Palestinian Authority is not doing anything to fight terror. The IDF activity in the city will continue until the completion of the search and detention of the terrorists.

At the beginning of the operation, the IDF notified the Palestinian Authority, through the District Coordination Offices, of the entrance of its forces into Tulkarem, and of the fact that this activity was directed against the terrorist infrastructures and not the Palestinian Authority.

* * *

On Tuesday morning (January 22), following a 30-hour operation, IDF forces exited the town of Tulkarem. During the operation the IDF carried out search, apprehension of suspects, as well as damaging local terrorist infrastructure.

IDF forces, which included a Nahal infantry regiment, an armored unit and an engineering force, took over parts of the town, captured a number of houses and carried out activities including a raid on the Tanzim offices and gathering of investigation material. Activities included the location and arrest of dozens of Palestinians, including 11 wanted men who are currently in the hands of Israeli security forces.

In the course of the operation, IDF forces found weapons, including rifles, guns, sabotage and explosive materials.

During the course of the operation, there were a number of disturbances, and exchanges of fire between IDF forces and Palestinians, in which two armed Palestinians were killed and another ten were wounded. IDF forces did not suffer casualties.

The IDF remains deployed around Tulkarem for any situation that may arise.