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Bethlehem Terrorists Try to Set IDF Pillbox on Fire

Soldiers use riot dispersal gear against approximately ten suspects in arson at Rachel's Tomb.
By Uzi Baruch, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/19/2014, 8:13 PM

Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb
Flash 90

Arab terrorists tried to set an IDF pillbox-type guard position on fire Saturday, at Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem.

No soldiers were reported hurt.

An IDF outlook unit identified smoke coming from the pillbox post and alerted ground forces to approach the position.

The soldiers identified about ten suspects who had set fire to the post. They used means of riot dispersal against them.

For many years now, IDF forces in Judea and Samaria have been under strict instructions to avoid use of lethal force in all but the most extreme circumstances. The incident at Rachel's Tomb appears to be another instance in which forces declined to fire at terrorists, despite being caught in the act of setting fire to a military position.

Palestinian Arab terrorists rioted at Rachel's Tomb less than a month ago, injuring two Border Policemen. One suffered moderate injuries and the second suffered light injuries, according to the Border Police spokesman. 

Arabs from the village of Al Aida, next to the Tomb, hurled an improvised explosive device and firebombs at the policemen. The policemen responded with riot dispersal gear.

The injured policemen were evacuated in order to receive medical treatment, according to the spokesman. 

Rachel's Tomb has been a target for terror attacks for over 13 years, since the outbreak of the terrorism campaign known as the Oslo War or the Second Intifada in 2000. As a result, it has been heavily fortified.

The IDF told Knesset Members in mid-2013 that about 200 firebombs and 90 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) had been thrown at the compound since November 2102's Pillar of Defense military operation in Gaza. That means an average of almost two bombs a day.

The military said that the very tall walls that have been constructed around the compound – nine meters high, or almost 30 feet – have not sufficed to provide security. A roof may be built to fully protect the site.