Citing a “direct threat of a possible attack on Israeli civilians,” the IDF decided to block off civilian areas and routes near the Gaza security fence this morning (Tuesday).
This latest developments follows the overnight arrest of Basam al-Saadi, the West Bank leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the Jenin refugee camp, during a joint IDF and Shin Bet operation, held under fire.
Al-Saadi is considered the mastermind behind the intensification of the Jihad across the West Bank and specifically in Jenin, which is considered the biggest terror next in the area. Most of the terrorists who attacked Israeli civilians over the past year came from Jenin, included the one who killed three civilians at a Tel Aviv bar this past April.
Fifty other Palestinians, suspected of engaging in or supporting terror activities, were also arrested. One armed suspect was killed during the fire exchange. Various weapons and materials were seized: handguns, cartilages, bullets and also cash money.
Currently, no trains are running south of the city of Ashkelon, entrance to agricultural areas adjacent to the security fence is prohibited, and several local monuments and nature attractions in southern Israel remain closed this morning. Erez Crossing is also closed today.
The IDF refers to this as preventative measures, in order to prevent the Islamic Jihad from engaging Gaza in retaliation attacks and causing another security escalation.
Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, held a security assessment with the participation of Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, National Security Advisor Dr. Eyal Hulata, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, ISA Director Ronen Bar, and other defense professionals.