Army Chief: Terrorist Slipping Into Israel Was Our Failure, Tensions Could Simmer for ‘Many Weeks’

Speaking to soldiers, Aviv Kochavi says 'it's our mission to prevent' terrorists from crossing into Israel from the West Bank

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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People mourning at the memorial to the terror attack victims set up on Dizengoff Street, on Friday.
People mourning at the memorial to the terror attack victims set up on Dizengoff Street, on Friday. Credit: Hadas Parush
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel's military chief, Aviv Kochavi, said Friday the terrorist attack in central Tel Aviv that left three people dead is the army's "responsibility and shouldn’t have happened."

Speaking to soldiers at the Ofer army base a day after the shooting, Kochavi said that the terrorist had crossed into Israel from the West Bank and that "our mission is to prevent these kinds of incidents."

"Army forces with unprecedented intelligence capabilities have been bolstered in all areas," he said, telling the soldiers that those capabilities would help them do their jobs.

The chief of staff said the deployment of "intelligence and ground forces is meant to prevent further terror attacks," adding that this tense period "is going to last days and even weeks." He said army forces would be bolstered "as long as needed."

The chief of staff emphasized that "we will continue to dedicate every means necessary, to develop the intelligence, to position all sorts of units in order to carry out the mission in the best way possible."

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.Credit: Hadas Parush

Members of the defense establishment believe that there is no one source of the terror attacks that took place in past weeks, but rather that it was the work of lone wolves.

Then, defense officials believe, terror groups try to claim the attacks as their own. The military held an operational assessment in the past few hours, after which the military decided to make it more difficult to break through the separation barrier, by installing technology at particular points on the fence.

On Thursday night a resident of the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank opened fire on patrons at the Ilka bar on Tel Aviv's busy Dizengoff Street.

After an eight-and-a-half-hour manhunt overnight, 28-year-old Raad Hazem was found hiding near a mosque in Jaffa and was shot dead by security forces.

Seven Israelis remain hospitalized at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, three in serious condition and four in light-to-moderate condition.

Thursday's attack was the fourth in two weeks. In the past days, the Israeli military has been speeding up its raids in West Bank villages and arresting suspects.

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