Palestinians Urged to Tighten Security After IDF Soldier Killed

Internal Security Minister Moshe Shahal has called upon the Palestinian Authority to take stronger steps to crack down on militant Islamic fundamentalists.

“The Palestinian Authority is not doing enough to prevent terrorists,” Shahal told Israel Radio.

“It must do more than get at the activists and those carrying out the attacks,” he said, adding that it must also deal with the leadership of the fundamentalist movements.

Shahal’s remarks came in the wake of Tuesday’s slaying of an Israel Defense Force soldier at the Israeli-Palestinian liaison offices near the West Bank town of Jenin.

Israeli officials said they would complain to the Palestinian self-rule government about the attack.

The soldier who stabbed to death in the attack was identified as Staff Sgt. Ehud Tal, 22, of Kibbutz Maoz Haim, near Beit Shean.

He was to have completed his army service in two weeks.

The incident occurred when a 19-year-old Hamas activist, Mahmoud Sariyeh, who is from a refugee camp near Jenin, entered the liaison office. The office is used by joint security forces working in the Jenin autonomous area.

The IDF spokesman said Sariyeh set off a metal detector at the compound’s public entrance and then was asked by Israeli security forces to remove his belt and jacket and pass through again.

The detector did not go off the second time, even though it was later discovered that Sariyeh was carrying two concealed knives.

He then entered one of the buildings where Tal was, and stabbed him repeatedly. Tal died of his injuries.

Sariyeh was captured.

The IDF chief of staff, appearing Tuesday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said the stabbing was a grave matter.

Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian police disarmed and briefly detained a Jewish settler as he was traveling through the Palestinian-controlled West Bank town of Ramallah, to his home in the settlement Ofra.

The settler, Nissim Ezra, was held for about an hour and a half before being transferred to the Ramallah area liaison office. He was later released.

Settlers complained that the detention had violated the terms of the self-rule accord signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

A senior Palestinian source apologized for the incident and said the Palestinian police involved had been arrested, Israel Radio reported. The police were members of the Palestinian anti-drug unit, and had suspected that the Israeli had drugs in his car, the source said.

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