Violence and terrorism by Palestinian groups opposed to the peace process continued in 1998, albeit at a reduced level as compared with the previous two years. HAMAS alone launched more than a dozen attacks over the year. Among the more notable were grenade attacks in Hebron in September that injured 25 persons and in Beersheva in October that injured more than 50. A HAMAS car bomb in the Gaza Strip in late October killed one Israeli soldier and injured several schoolchildren. The PIJ attempted a car bombing in November in Jerusalem that killed only the two militants.
Other serious attacks against Israel and its citizens also occurred, including the shooting deaths of two settlers on guard duty in early August and the assassination of a prominent rabbi in Hebron later that month. Small bomb explosions in Tel Aviv in August and in Jerusalem in September wounded a total of 13 Israelis.
For its part, Israel continued vigorous counterterrorist operations, including numerous arrests and seizures of weapons and explosives. In one of the most significant actions of the year, Israeli forces on 10 September raided a farmhouse near Hebron, killing two leading HAMAS terrorists, Adil and Imad Awadallah.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which is responsible for security in Gaza and most major West Bank cities, continued to act against Palestinian perpetrators of anti-Israeli violence. The PA's security apparatus preempted several attacks over the year, including a planned HAMAS double-suicide bombing staged from the Gaza Strip in late September. The PA launched several large-scale arrest campaigns targeting individuals with ties to terrorist organizations and detained several leading HAMAS and PIJ political figures. In one of the more significant operations of the year, the PA in late September uncovered a HAMAS bomb lab filled with hundreds of kilograms of explosives. At the same time, more PA effort is needed to enhance its bilateral cooperation with Israel and its unilateral fight against terrorism.
In late October, the PA and Israel signed the Wye River Memorandum, which includes a number of provisions for increased security cooperation.