The IDF has created a fail-safe system enabling it to curtail injury to a single soldier, Palestinian civilian or even a would-be knife-carrying terrorist.
By Yoav Zitun
The city of Hebron has seen an increase in the number of attempted stabbing attacks than the height of the wave of terror last year. However, in all of the attempts, the IDF and Border Police have succeeded in neutralizing the armed Palestinians with the incidents ending without injury to either the soldiers or the would-be terrorists.
Speaking in an interview with Ynet, a senior IDF officer from the Judea and Samaria Division said that the forces had caught no fewer than 25 suspected Palestinians carrying knives on their bodies at checkpoints around settlements in the West Bank between April and June. The figure, he says, has only risen and reached its peak during the month of Ramadan.
Despite the high numbers, not a single Israeli was harmed and no soldier was forced to open fire on the attacker. The reason? The Judea Division, which controls the Hebron area, has made dramatic changes to the methods used for searching people passing through the checkpoints which separate Jewish settlements and the Palestinian neighborhoods.
Now, passing through some checkpoints requires standing in a special reinforced concrete room containing bullet proof and shatter proof glass, along with a machine capable of detecting not only metal or sharp objects on the body, but also of identifying the exact point of the body to which the object is attached.
Effectively, the system allows for a comprehensive search without endangering the safety of the soldier who, instead of approaching potential harm’s way, stands in small room next door and views the scan through the reinforced glass.
A Palestinian who is spotted carrying a sharp object is immediately locked in the cell with the touch of a button and is then taken in for questioning leaving both the assailant and the soldier unscathed.
The new system has now been added on the Palestinian side of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a flashpoint for attempted and successful knife attacks.
In the new checkpoints, a computer is also installed for a more efficient transfer of Palestinians entering for legal purposes. For example, a computer in the room assists the soldier in quickly identifying Palestinians carrying entry permits for merchants, VIPs and teachers.
Not only will the number of efficient checkpoints increase in the Jewish settlements, but over the last few days one has already started being built at the beginning of a road leading to the entrance of Kiryat Arba where Jewish civilians have been, hitherto, exposed to unchecked Palestinians from northern Hebron where infamous clans control well-known terrorists.
“We don’t want IDF soldiers patrolling the road in a Jewish community with a bullet in the barrel around Palestinian and Jewish children,” the officer said.
Other measures have also been taken to beef up security in some of the most sensitive zones that have experienced the deadly realities of terror.
In Otniel, for example, NIS 2.5 million have been invested in security, including the installation of 25 CCTV cameras. The city of Hebron is the most recorded city in Israel and in the last four years, the number of IDF security cameras has risen in the West Bank and its vicinity from 82 to more than 160.
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