IDF to send 2 more battalions to West Bank after series of settler attacks

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The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday bolstered the West Bank with two additional battalions following a recent string of settler attacks against Palestinian villages and towns.

The IDF said the decision was made following a fresh assessment of the security situation in the West Bank.

On Saturday, a joint statement by the heads of the IDF, police, and Shin Bet security agency said the military would divert and increase forces to prevent settler attacks on Palestinians.

The two battalions deployed Sunday included the 17th battalion from the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders and the 934th Battalion of the Nahal Brigade.

Last week, following a deadly terror attack at a gas station near the settlement of Eli, the army deployed four more battalions to the area: the Egoz and Maglan commando units, Golani’s 13th Battalion and Paratrooper’s 202nd Battalion.

Typically, the IDF’s West Bank division has 13 battalions. Over the past 18 months, that number has fluctuated because of an anti-terror offensive, following a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks, reaching a height of 26 battalions in October 2022.

Fields on fire near the Palestinian village of Qusra, in the West Bank, June 22, 2023. (Flash90)

Following Sunday’s deployment, there will be 25 battalions in the West Bank, a military spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

The deployment comes to address rocketing tensions in the West Bank in recent days.

On Monday, the IDF carried out a raid on the West Bank city of Jenin, during which seven Palestinians were killed, including two teens, and eight soldiers were injured by a large roadside bomb and in clashes with Palestinian gunmen.

On Tuesday, four Israelis were shot dead and four were wounded, in a terror attack by two Hamas-affiliated gunmen at the gas station near Eli.

In the wake of that attack, recent days have seen hundreds of settlers rampage inside Palestinian towns and villages, setting fire to homes, cars, and even opening fire in some cases. One Palestinian was killed Wednesday in unclear circumstances.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 24 people, including Tuesday’s victims.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 134 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that time, most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

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