Israeli forces came under heavy gunfire during an arrest operation in the West Bank village of Burqin west of Jenin.
By Erin Viner
Palestinian gunmen opened fire amid a riot by about 150 others, who hurled an improvised grenade, firebombs and rocks at undercover Israeli security forces yesterday, who responded with live fire.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed the deaths of the two combatants in the firefight. There were no IDF casualties, according to a statement from the Israeli Border Police.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group identified the two dead men as Abdullah al-Hossari and Shadi Nagham. Local Palestinian media reported that Hossari was a member of the PIJ’s new so-called “Jenin Brigade” who was released from Israeli prison in August after 26 months.
The violence erupted after the Israeli capture of terrorist Imad Abu Al-Hijeh during a pre-dawn raid. Hijeh has also been previously imprisoned, whose father Jamal is senior Hamas official who is currently incarcerated.
The volatile West Bank area has largely fallen under control of the Gaza-based PIJ and Hamas terror groups who have also clashed with Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces.
In related developments, a third Palestinian was reportedly shot dead while hurling rocks at IDF troops deployed near Bethlehem. Israel’s Army Radio reported that the assailant was killed after the firing of several warning shots but that he had refused to cease his attack.
20 Palestinians were arrested in other violent clashes that broke out at the Damascus Gate entrance into Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.
A riot ensued when thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered to celebrate the Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj holiday, which they believe marks the journey from Mecca and ascent to heaven from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by Islam’s prophet Mohammad.
The Palestinians “chanted incitement and threw stones and bottles at police on the scene,” who responded with crowd-dispersal methods including the firing of stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons “to protect public order and prevent rioting,” said an Israel Police spokesperson.
Four Israeli police officers and some 25 Palestinians were injured during the clashes.