Two Palestinians stab to death five members of Israeli family at Itamar, West Bank
DEBKAfile Special Report March 12, 2011, 9:53 AM (GMT+02:00)
At least two Palestinians armed with knives stabbed the mother, father and three of the children, aged, 11, three and a baby of a month in their sleep at Itamar, south of Nablus early Saturday. Two small children were not attacked. Their sister aged 12 found them when she returned home at 12:30 and called for help. Magen David Adom paramedics could only confirm the five deaths.
The terrorists had broken through the electronic fence guarding the settlement without setting off an alarm.
Military and police units fanned out to hunt the perpetrators and set up checkpoints. Hamas websites hailed the murder as a “heroic operation,” without taking responsibility.
This attack is the first of its kind in years. Hamas Websites hailed the murder as “heroic,” without taking responsibility.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report: There were no terror alerts prior to the attack although Hamas networks had been known to be regrouping in Judea and Samaria for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping Israelis on both sides of the Green Line. Several Palestinians were recently detained at the few remaining West Bank checkposts carrying pipe bombs, knives and fire bombs. Nonetheless the military did not recommend putting any of the checkposts back even though the Palestinian Authority’s security services had slowed down their counter-terror cooperation with Israel, therefore failing to keep their side of the bargain for the removal of the checkposts.
For more than a year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak acceded to relentless US and European pressure to grant West Bank Palestinians almost unrestricted freedom of movement and generous aid for their economic development as a means of persuading PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table. This policy failed in its purpose while leaving Israelis vulnerable once again to terrorist attacks.
Israel’s government military policy makers have refrained from redeploying the Israeli military to compensate for declining the Palestinian Authority’s counter terror activity, which has been a concomitant of the rising unrest in the Arab world, especially in Egypt. Israeli queries on this to the Americans and British officers running the Palestinian security services have gone unanswered.
Because Palestinian traffic between Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south is to all intents and purposes unmonitored, the Israeli military is forced to fall back on intelligence informants as its only tool for preventing terrorist attacks. The result was seen tragically in Itamar Saturday morning.