I want to express my condolences to the family of the fallen soldier, Staff Sergeant Haim Bachar.
In the past few years, especially this last period, the majority of the terrorist activities have eminated from the incubator known as the Balata refugee camp. The camp has turned into a place of weapons production and from it exit terrorists, mostly Hamas and Fatah, on their way to terror attacks. This is the reason the IDF focused its operations in this area.
The mission of our forces was to strike at the terrorist infrastructure and to arrest wanted terrorists. The preparations for operating were focused and included briefings, with the goal to prevent the harming of innocent civilians and to minimize the damage caused to property.
The Nahal, Paratroopers, Armor, Engineering, Border Patrol brigades and special units carried out the operation. The forces entered the camp Wednesday night. This came after the camp was surrounded by fire observation forces. Some of the forces that entered were concealed and some were not concealed.
Around 2:00 in the morning exchanges of fire broke out in the camp. Light arms fire was directed towards the IDF forces and explosives devices were detonated at them- some of them were improvised.
In order to minimize the harm to IDF soldiers and innocent civilians, something that could have happened with their movement outside of the houses, the forces navigated from house to house, while creating openings in the buildings’ walls and passing through them. In this manner the forces prevented unnecessary damage to the buildings.
During the operation IDF forces discovered a laboratory for the production of “Kassam” rockets, six uncompleted rockets, one rocket ready for launching, weapons, bombs and chemical materials for their production. The forces also found a vehicle containing seven explosive belts.
The forces were witnesses to a very serious and grave trend. The Palestinians used ambulances to hide gunmen. The forces witnessed at least twenty incidents, some of them were documented, of armed Palestinians entering ambulances. They did not open fire towards the ambulances in concern that innocent injured civilians were also inside them.
It’s important to note that the prevention of harm to civilians was a factor in the execution of the missions.
This operation proved that terror, wherever it is, will be found and taken care of.