Nearly 500 Palestinian police officers were deployed to Jenin and its environs Saturday, where they will begin a major security operation Sunday code named "Smile and Hope."

The police, from Hebron, Jericho and Ramallah, will join the 150 officers routinely stationed in the Jenin area.

The deployment was done with full coordination with the Israel Defense Forces, and as a result of an agreement reached between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Of the officers deployed, 325 are members of the Presidential Guard of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who have recently completed their training in Jordan and were based in Ramallah. Another 100 are members of the National Security organization, and are based in Jericho. Civilian policemen comprise 55 members of the force.

The entire force is armed.

The aim of the operation, which is scheduled to last three months, is to bolster the activities of the PA's security forces in Jenin and its environs, carry out counter-terrorism activities and crack down on crime. The force will carry out operations in some 50 villages in the area.

Palestinian sources said the force has been instructed to carry out operations against criminals, especially car thieves. The officers have also been ordered to confiscate illegal weapons.

All planned actions will be reported to Israel 24 hours prior to carrying them out, and urgent operations will be approved within 30 minutes.

Suleiman Amran, head of the PA's security forces in Jenin, will be in charge of the force.

On Friday, an IDF force shot and killed Halil al-Za'arir, 28, in Hebron. The IDF said that he tried to stab soldiers near the Shani roadblock, south of Mt. Hebron. According to an IDF spokesman he approached the roadblock brandishing a knife. The soldiers fired in the air, but he did not stop and he was shot.