(Communicated by Israeli Security Sources)
Jerusalem, 12 August, 2003
Five Israeli civilians and one foreign national have been killed, and 28 civilians injured, since the declaration of the ‘Hudna’ temporary terrorism cease fire agreement reached between the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian terrorism groups on June 29, 2003.
To date, 180 terrorist attacks have been recorded since the ‘Hudna’ was declared, including 120 shooting attacks. The West Bank has proven to be the epicenter for the terrorists’ attempts to launch attacks. During this time, Israeli security forces have continued in their efforts to disrupt terrorist operations and have prevented 40 attacks.
Fatal terrorist attacks during the ‘Hudna’:
June 30, 2003 – Palestinian shooting attack on a truck near Jenin in the West Bank, killing a foreign national from Bulgaria.
July 7, 2003 – Suicide bombing in Kfar Yabetz in which an Israeli civilian was killed. The attack was carried out by an Islamic Jihad operative from the West Bank.
July 15, 2003 – A stabbing attack on the Jaffa boardwalk, in which an Israeli civilian was killed and another civilian injured. The attack was carried out by Fatah members.
July 28, 2003 – Discovery of the body of IDF soldier Oleg Shaihat, abducted by terrorists a few days earlier, buried in an olive grove near Kfar Kana in the Galilee. No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility.
Aug 12, 2003 – Suicide bombing in Rosh Ha’Ayin mall in central Israel, in which one Israeli civilian was killed and nine injured. Hamas claimed responsibility.
Aug 12, 2003 – Suicide bombing at a gas station at the entrance to Ariel in the West Bank – one Israeli was killed and three were injured. Fatah claimed responsibility. (A second Israeli died of his wounds on August 28.)
Also noteworthy is the kidnapping of Israeli taxi driver Eliyahu Goral, July 11, 2003, who was rescued a few days later. The kidnapping was carried out by a Palestinian terrorist operating on his own initiative.
Update: Aug 19, 2003 – Twenty-one people were killed and 136 wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself on a No. 2 Egged bus in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Gaza District
In the Gaza District approximately 100 terrorist attacks have been carried out, including six mortar bomb attacks. There have also been 14 incidents in which mortars bombs have been observed fired, but landed in PA areas.
In addition, on July 22, 2003, Qassam rockets were observed launched in the area of Beit Hanoun. According to a number of reports, the rockets were identified as falling short, on a house in Beit Hanoun itself. On July 28, 2003, IDF forces identified two launches (apparently Qassam rockets) southwest of Netzarim, which fell in PA areas, northwest of the community. At this point, it is not clear if these rocket launchings were experimental in nature or if they were attempts to hit Israeli targets.
The West Bank
The West Bank has witnessed a similar 78 attacks since the Hudna took effect. This, in comparison to the 97 attacks that occurred during the six week period preceding the declaration. This demonstrates that the West Bank continues to be problematic with respect to the Hudna. Terrorist organizations operating in the area – with emphasis on the Tanzim, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – oppose the agreement and continue to carry out terrorist attacks.
The perceived relative quiet in the area since the declaration of the Hudna has been maintained, mostly through intensive operations on the part of Israeli security forces against those Palestinian organizations that have not accepted the cease fire, and are attempting by any means possible to carry out attacks and undermine the peace process.
Israeli security forces continue to operate in areas in which the PA has failed to control the terrorists. In all, Israeli security forces have prevented 40 terrorist attacks since the declaration of the Hudna and have arrested more than 200 terrorist suspects.