Following one of the worst days of violence in the West Bank in years, tensions with Palestinians soared even higher when Gaza terrorists fired rockets at Israel overnight.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
The first rockets were launched at midnight, including three projectiles, two of which were intercepted by the IDF aerial defense array while a third fell short and exploded in the Strip. Another barrage including three projectiles followed at approximately 3:30 AM, two of which were once again successfully intercepted while a third exploded in an uninhabited territory within Israel.
The attack set off air raid sirens in several Israeli border communities, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to seek cover in bomb shelters within 15 seconds. There were no reported injuries.
IDF fighter jets retaliated by striking a number of military installations belonging to the Islamist Hamas, including a subterranean rocket manufacturing site and a military base – both of which are known to contribute to efforts by Hamas to prepare for a future confrontation with Israel.
The cross-border fire came after Hamas vowed to avenge the deaths of about ten Palestinians during riots in Jenin during an Israeli arrest raid yesterday – marking the highest single-day death toll in years.
There have been a near-daily series of clashes in the West Bank over the past year. Jerusalem launched Operation Waves Breaker in 2021 to counter a wave of a deadly wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis.
During the Jenin operation, the PIJ terror squad opened fire toward IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) , Border Police and its Yamam Counter-terrorism Units. Three Palestinian gunmen were killed in the resulting crossfire. Altogether, nine operatives of the Iranian-proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization were eliminated, while it has been reported that a Palestinian civilian also died during deadly exchange-of-fire.
The IDF spokesperson’s Unit said an investigation into the reported death has been opened. .
The Palestinian Authority (PA) held a press conference at its headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where a senior advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that it it will immediately suspending all security coordination with Israeli security forces in retaliation for the incident in Jenin.
“In light of the repeated aggression against our people, and the undermining of signed agreements, including security, we consider that security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now. The security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now,” declared Nabil Abu Rudeineh, adding, that,” We salute the sons of the Palestinian security establishment, for their honorable stances, in defense of our national project and the interest of our people. We also salute the national institutions and activities that watch over the popular peaceful resistance, and we call on them to do more, in order to protect our people and their capabilities in the face of settler terrorism and the occupation forces.”
Jerusalem’s defense establishment responded to the PA by reiterating the importance of joint security coordination.
A senior PA official speaking on condition of anonymity told TV7 that prospects of implementing the announced termination of security coordination is highly unlikely. The official stressed that the Palestinian leadership understands full well the benefits of the coordination mechanism, and President Abbas would ultimately decide whether to make good on the threat.
The IDF announced that it deployed additional troops to the West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria to ensure a heightened state of preparedness in the event of a further deterioration of security.
The latest cycle of violence comes just ahead of a slated visit to visit Israel and the West Bank by United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The State Department said it was “deeply concerned” with the situation, and urged both sides to de-escalate the conflict.
The United Nations, Egypt and Qatar have also urged calm, Palestinian officials said.