(Wednesday, September 11th, 2013)
Commander of the Binyamin Region Brigade Colonel Yossi Pinto said at an annual review of incidents in the sector that Israeli forces are not facing a rise in terror overall in Yehuda and Shomron but rather a rise in the sophistication of terrorist infrastructure and planning. These changes demand a high-level of intelligence gathering from security forces.
Commander of the Binyamin Brigade Colonel Yossi Pinto participated in an event to mark Rosh Hashanah and to review incidents from last year in his sector in the IDF’s Central Command. “During the year we dedicated long months to thwarting and preventing terror incidents, which ultimately led to relative quiet in the sector,” he noted.
“In recent weeks we have once again found ourselves in a challenging time. What is happening in Syria and Egypt may be far off but could reach us very quickly. Our mission was and will remain to defend the Israeli communities of the Binyamin region and the citizens of this country – a mission which has become more complex in recent months.”
Pinto added that the holiday period in Israel adds to the security challenges brought about by the instability in the region.
“It is a sensitive time,” he said. “It demands from us a high level of intelligence gathering, and we are testing ourselves to ensure that our efforts are truly achieving the necessary level of intelligence. The level of terrorism has been and remains challenging,” Colonel Pinto said.
“There was no dramatic rise in the amount of terrorism but there is an increase in the level of terrorist infrastructure and planning.”
The danger of kidnapping attempts and terrorist activity targeting Israeli soldiers remains high. “The threat of shooting attacks directed at our forces is significant. Due to the size of the territory we often work in smaller groups, which requires us to be professional and well-trained,” Pinto said.
In an incident in Jenin last month, IDF soldiers performing a routine arrest in Jenin were attacked and shot at by terrorists. The troops returned fire, killing one terrorist and injuring two others.
The brigade commander referred to a separate incident in Kalandia last week, in which the arrest of a terror suspect triggered a violent riot.
“The incident could have ended in a worse manner than it did, and the determination and decision-making of the commanders are worthy of note,” Pinto emphasized. He explained that such violent outbreaks are common in the sector and pose a serious challenge to Israeli soldiers whose lives are often endangered while carrying out routine arrests of terrorist operatives and suspects.