Three Israeli civilians were killed and another three Israelis were wounded in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank on Sunday, the assailants managed to escape.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is currently staying at his Sycamore Ranch, spoke with senior defense officials by telephone Sunday night to discuss Israel's response and decided to reimpose various restrictions on Palestinian traffic in the West Bank that had recently been lifted. The Israel Defense Forces will resume its encirclement of Hebron and Bethlehem, reinstate dismantled checkpoints around Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah and forbid private Palestinian cars to travel certain roads.
Israel also suspended security talks with the Palestinian Authority in protest. A security source slammed the PA as having no leadership, saying Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is working in a vacuum and that no force can make him fight terror, Israel Radio reported.
In addition, the IDF will beef up its forces in the southern West Bank and continue its large-scale arrest operations. It will also fortify some of the hitchhiking posts along major West Bank roads to protect hitchhikers from drive-by shootings such as Sunday's. Nevertheless, IDF officers warned, additional attacks on the roads are possible, reports Haaretz.
In the other incident, Palestinians shot into a crowd of people walking near the entrance to the Eli settlement, north of Ramallah. One person was critically wounded, Israeli security and medical sources said.
Separately, Israeli army troops shot an armed Palestinian during an operation near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, Israeli security sources said.
Israeli media said the man a senior leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad was killed, but Israeli security sources did not immediately confirm the reports.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which operates from Gaza, is considered to be a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, informs CNN.