Recent West Bank Attacks Assessed

At least half of the recent attacks on Jews in the West Bank were by lone assailants acting on their own initiative or by small groups not affiliated with any terrorist organization, Maj. Gen. Amnon Shahak, commanding officer of the central region, told reporters yesterday.

He said that while there has been a significant increase in the number of attacks, most Arab residents of the territory favor a peaceful settlement with Israel. According to Shahak the typical perpetrators are young people. They are difficult to apprehend because their attacks are not usually planned but result from a spur of the moment decision by a small group of friends.

They use makeshift weapons, such as gasoline bombs, Shahak said. Attacks carried out by terrorists, pro or anti-Arafat elements of the Palestine Liberation Organization, are planned and employ firearms and high explosives, Shahak said.

Asked about a statement by the West Bank settlers council last week that they would use any means to thwart a government decision to give up part of the administered territories in exchange for peace, Shahak replied, “We will keep law and order regardless of who is breaking the law.”

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