JERUSALEM, Israel – With less than two months until Israelis celebrate the nation's 70th anniversary and the US moves its embassy to Jerusalem, terror attacks are on the rise.
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip are ramping up roadside bombings along the security fence while continuing construction on attack tunnels. On Sunday, the IDF destroyed two tunnels – one inside Israel and one in central Gaza.
But according to Israeli television commentator Ehud Ya'ari, the Gaza-based terror groups have a new tactic in mind.
In a conference call on Monday, Ya'ari said he's never seen anything as "dangerous or vicious" as the split within the top leadership of Hamas, the Palestinian faction controlling the Gaza Strip.
A little more than a year ago, Hamas appointed Yahya Sinwar to replace its outgoing Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh. Even among his fellow jihadists, Sinwar is known as a ruthless killer.
Ya'ari says the group's latest tactic is to send hundreds of thousands of Gazans in a series of marches to storm the security fence.
Security Fence at Gaza Border, Photo, TPS, Kobi Richter
Ya'ari believes the recent uptick in roadside bombs is "clearly related to the planned marches."
"They are trying to test the fence to see how fast Israelis arrive at the scene of an incident – testing the ground, shaping the arena of battle."
The IDF, he said, is planning how to cope with this different type of offensive. "[It] must develop and improve its techniques for dispersing large crowds without resorting to firearms," he said.
Meanwhile, Hamas is calling for 100 days of rage to mark the 100-day anniversary of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Israel is responding to the bombings by targeting the terror infrastructure in Gaza with tank fire and airstrikes.
Killing with Cars and Knives
On Friday afternoon, a resident of the Arab village of Barta'a plowed into a group of soldiers, killing two and critically injuring two others. The ramming attack took place about five miles south of the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin, near Mevo Dotan in northern Samaria (the West Bank).
Paramedics Transport Soldier Injured in Car-Ramming Attack, Photo, TPS
IDF Capt. Ziv Daos, 21, and Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, were both pronounced dead at the scene. Two other soldiers remain hospitalized, both in critical condition. The lightly injured driver, 26-year-old Ala Qabha, was treated at an Israeli hospital.
On Sunday, 32-year-old Adiel Coleman, a father of four who worked as a security guard at an excavation site in the Old City, succumbed to multiple stab wounds to his torso.
A police officer shot and killed the attacker, later identified as Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, 28, at the scene of the attack. Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack, as evidence that the "Jerusalem intifada" is continuing.
IDF Responds to Stabbing Attack, Photo, TPS, David Michael Cohen
The Palestinian Authority's official Ma'an news agency identified the victim as a "settler" in the "illegal settlement" of Kochav Hasharhar. Coleman was laid to rest Monday morning in the community's cemetery.
At the funeral, Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said Israel's response to terror is to build.
"Our revenge is settlement, and I hope that we will succeed in building up Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to make a crystal clear statement that between the River Jordan to the [Mediterranean] Sea, there will be just one sovereign state. This land is ours, we received it from God," Arutz Sheva quoted Ariel's eulogy.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin released a statement saying the pain felt by family and friends is "unbearable."
"The terror on the streets of Jerusalem, our capital, where Jews and Arabs have lived together for hundreds of years, is a great disaster for all its inhabitants, and we will not allow it to become an existing reality. We will fight against terror and we will overcome," Rivlin said.
Israel security forces are responding to the latest wave of terror with intensive investigations and arrests of the attackers' family members for questioning. The IDF is also making preparation to demolish the terrorists' homes.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Photo, Facebook
Following Friday's vehicular homicide, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for the death penalty for the driver.
"There is no such thing as lone wolf terrorism," Lieberman said. "This is terror supported by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the Palestinian Authority, which pays money to the families of the terrorists. We will stop them," Arutz Sheva quoted Lieberman.