'Capturing Terrorists Is Not Enough': Bennett Pushes for Civilian National Guard

'We are in a new phase in the war on terror,' the prime minister said, after Israel captured the Palestinians who murdered three Israelis in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Israeli forces after the arrest of two Palestinians who carried out a terror attack in Elad, near the city, on Sunday.
Israeli forces after the arrest of two Palestinians who carried out a terror attack in Elad, near the city, on Sunday.Credit: Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

The Israeli government will establish a new "civilian national guard" to fight terrorism, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Sunday, after Israeli forces captured two Palestinians who murdered on Thursday three Israelis in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad.

"Capturing the terrorists is not enough," Bennett said in a cabinet meeting on Sunday. "We are in a new phase in the war on terror. The highest-priority task for the Israeli government is to restore personal security to the citizens of Israel."

It is unclear exactly what this "civilian national guard" will consist of or look like.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, last month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The possibility of establishing a new national guard first arose in the aftermath of last May's outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas, and was kept from the public by Bennett and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The country's National Security Council and the Public Security Ministry are now tasked with presenting the government with a proposal for the establishment of the new national guard this month, Bennett said.

The announcement came after Israeli forces captured Asad al-Rifa'i, 19, and Subhi Abu Shakir, 20, after a three-day manhunt.

The pair from the village of Rummaneh, near Jenin, were found hiding out in a forest in central Israel, near the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad where they killed three and wounded four other Israelis in an ax attack.

Those killed in the terror attack were Oren Ben Yiftah, a resident of Lod, Yonatan Havakuk, a 44-year-old resident of Elad, and Boaz Gol, also a 49-year-old resident of the city.

The attack in Elad is the latest in a string of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 19 dead. Meanwhile, at least 27 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, some related to operations to locate suspects in the attacks. 

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