Illegal weapons in West Bank continue to fuel terror attacks

Illegal weapons in West Bank continue to fuel terror attacks

Several terrorist attacks over the past week in the West Bank continue to feature the use of illegal arms, primarily M-4 and M-16 rifles and their variants. In the latest attack, a terrorist reputed to be from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades killed Israeli father Meir Tamari near Hermesh on Tuesday. In a shootout with terrorists in Jenin, a member of the Palestinian Authority’s General Security Service was killed in an exchange of fire.

“These incidents will occasion a serious review by Israel of its coordination with PA security forces, given their evident penetration by men who are prepared to turn their guns against Israelis. And that would cause further destabilization of the West Bank after more than a year of upheaval,” says Joe Truzman, research analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy’s Long War Journal.

“Mahmoud Abbas does not exercise the tight control that Arafat once did, yet he incites and legitimizes terrorism with his rhetoric, including crude antisemitic remarks, as well as his payments to terrorists and their families in violation of US law. Western powers must make it clear to Abbas that his credibility as a leader – and their engagement with him – is on the line,” noted Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD)CEO Mark Dubowitz..

West Bank shootings attacks are part of a larger pattern

These incidents are part of a larger pattern. First of all, they are part of a pattern of attacks over the past week at the end of May. There was a shooting near Gan Ner, which is in northern Israel near the West Bank, and also an unusual attempt to plant some kind of roadside bomb near Mughayyir. There was also gunfire near Hebron and there are likely many more incidents that go unreported, including shootings between Palestinian factions and groups. There was also a shooting near Mevo Dotan.

The IDF noted the number of attacks on May 28: “Another attempted terrorist attack was just thwarted for the third time today. IDF soldiers spotted a suspect attempting to place an explosive device on the Alon Road. This comes after two other attempted shooting attacks in the communities of Mevo Dotan and Gan Ner earlier today. The IDF will continue to operate to protect Israeli civilians and thwart any terrorist threat against them.”

On Thursday morning, photos showed an M-4 assault rifle that was found by the IDF in the West Bank. Like some other of these types of rifles found in the West Bank, the weapon is stamped “property of US government.” The origin of these rifles is not always entirely clear – whether by theft from homes or vehicles, or robberies from IDF stocks – but it is clear that they are trafficked illegally to the West Bank.

It is also clear that recent photos of rifles that have been found or are seen in videos and photos from places like Jenin and Nablus show a large number of these types of rifles.

Palestinian terrorists have used rifles for decades, but there has been a transition from the use of the Russian AK-47 submachine gun and also locally made “Carlo” guns (knockoffs of the veteran Swedish Carl Gustav submachine gun). Many of these weapons also have accessories, such as sights and grips that can be identified and traced to more recent manufacture.

How can Israel stop illegal weaponry phenomena?

What this means is that the rifles, or parts of them, are recently acquired. This means weapons are being smuggled recently and diverted from existing supplies or stocks in the region.

Stopping illegal weapons or finding them is not easy. This is because they may be smuggled in parts, or when they arrive they can be hidden. It is not easy to find one rifle in a person’s house even if the person is known to possess one. Security forces can’t search every house in a town for an endless amount of time.

This means that illegal weapons are constantly seized, but the overall number may not be possible to interdict or reduce. In addition, when terrorists hold parades of armed men they usually surround themselves with civilians.

The issue of illegal weapons has been highlighted in previous Jerusalem Post reports this, January, April and several reports last fall.

Weapon smugglers have been intercepted, including a large number of arms intercepted in April being smuggled from Jordan. Nevertheless, the shooting attacks continue to be fueled by the seemingly unstoppable flow of illegal weapons to the West Bank.

Source: msn