West Bank Terror Tunnel Shafts Uncovered by IDF

Latest Developments

Two terror tunnels shafts in the West Bank were uncovered during an overnight operation in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on December 6. Terror tunnels are used by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and to a limited degree by Hezbollah in Lebanon, but their use in the West Bank is a relatively new development. During the operation, the IDF detained 10 Palestinian terrorists and found three bomb-making labs. The IDF also confiscated illegal weapons. During the operation, clashes took place with Palestinian gunmen, injuring one IDF soldier.

Expert Analysis

“The discovery of tunnel shafts in Jenin is a serious concern. Iranian-backed terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, must not put down terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank. These groups want to present a threat to Israel and transform areas of the West Bank into a miniature version of the terror threat they created in Gaza before October 7. Eliminating Hamas and other terror groups in the West Bank is an important and complementary goal of the war against Hamas in Gaza.” — Seth J.

Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“The ongoing escalation of violence in the West Bank, which started two-and-a-half years ago, persists without any sign of relenting. It has become evident that terrorist organizations are adapting and devising strategies to confront the Israeli military. Furthermore, Israel’s military operation in Jenin in July was only a stopgap measure, implying the need for a more substantial operation to remove Palestinian terrorist organizations in the northern West Bank.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal
1,200 Hamas Members Arrested in West Bank Since October 7

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said on December 4 that the IDF has arrested 1,200 Hamas operatives in the West Bank since the Hamas attack on October 7. “We are increasing the fight against terrorism, so far we must say with great success,” he said. Halevi said that some of the 1,200 Hamas members detained in the West Bank were involved in “very serious attacks in the past, some that were planning to carry out future attacks.” The IDF also said on December 6 that it detained an additional 16 terrorist suspects throughout the West Bank.

Hamas Members Cheered in West Bank after Prisoner Release

Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners guilty of a range of crimes during the pause in fighting between November 24 and December 1 in exchange for innocent Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Palestinians in Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, raised Hamas flags and cheered the released prisoners. The mother of one of the released Palestinian prisoners said, “with our soul, with our blood, we will redeem you, Hamas.” The cheers for the prisoners have led to concerns that support for Hamas in the West Bank may be skyrocketing, according to a report by France 24.

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