Israel On Edge After Suspected Hezbollah Operative Crossed Border, Bombed Roadway
Israel has been shaken by what's being described as a very serious security breach on its northern border, with a mysterious roadside bombing at Megiddo in northern Israel on Monday now being described as a terror act of Lebanese Hezbollah.
Until Wednesday, there was a strict gag order in place among Israeli security officials and media while the investigation was ongoing and top-level emergency security meetings were convened. One victim of the blast is said to be in serious condition, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been meeting with his top security officials, having also confirmed he'll be returning from Berlin a day earlier to handle the crisis.
According to The Times of Israel, a Hezbollah operative snuck across the border earlier this week, and reportedly hitched a ride with a local Arab. "The alleged terrorist was shot dead on the Lebanese border several hours after the attack on Monday. He was armed with an explosives belt at the time," the report says.
The bomb detonated Monday morning, and the IDF said forensic evidence showed the bomb to be "unusual" - and not like what is more common among Palestinian attackers. This prompted the military and police to shut down roads and the whole area while trying to track the culprit. The Times of Israel described:
Officers of the elite police Yamam counterterrorism unit and Shin Bet officers opened fire at the suspect, killing him. The IDF said the suspect was a "clear danger" to the security forces and had a primed explosives belt on him at the time.
The bystander who was the lone reported victim of the bombing attack has been identified as 21-year-old Shareef al-Din. He suffered shrapnel wounds all over his body.
Before the details were revealed by authorities, Israeli Kan 11 channel reported that "most of the details of the case are forbidden to be published according to censorship instructions – the security system is very concerned about the details of the case."
Israel's Channel 12 reports that Israel has sent a warning to "terrorist organizations" across the middle east to not take advantage of the country's internal rifts to commit attacks, saying that the "response will be wildly disproportionate"https://t.co/3rBfkFpUgN— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) March 14, 2023
This follows a string of attacks and major security incidents amid rising tensions in the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli security. It also comes amid large Israeli protests in reaction to controversial judicial reforms and new policies of Netanyahu's far right governing coalition.
According to Mideast news site The Cradle, "Such bombing operations are reminiscent of those carried out during the Second Intifada, which saw several large-scale attacks, such as the Megiddo Junction bus bombing of 2002 by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)."