Israeli security forces arrested seven more suspects across the West Bank in overnight operations for involvement in terrorist activities.
By Erin Viner
The IDF released footage documenting a fierce firefight in the flashpoint city of Jenin, where Palestinian gunmen opened fire and detonated explosive devices against the Israeli soldiers. The video was filmed both by the troops’ helmet cameras and by a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, drone).
Commandos, including several undercover agents, were sent into Jenin to capture two Palestinians suspected of carrying out gun ambushes, said Israeli police.
Four Palestinian gunmen and 40 others were wounded during the violence, with no reported injuries to the Israeli divisions.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror factions identified the four gunmen as members.
According to the IDF, one of the terrorists was Abed Hazem – whose brother Ra’ad was killed after shooting three civilians to death in Tel Aviv last April. The others were named as Muhammed Alownah, who had previously executed multiple attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria with Hazem; Muhammad Abu Na’asa; and Ahmed Alawneh, who worked for the the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services.
The four were conspiring to carry out “significant attacks against Israel in the near future,” said a military statement, adding that an M-16 automatic rifle used by one of the gunmen had been confiscated.
“We carried out another complex operation in the Jenin refugee camp, which was carried out with determination and professionalism, and whose purpose was to thwart a concrete threat,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi summed up.
The raid triggered clashes elsewhere in the city and spread to neighboring Nablus, which have both been a focus of Israeli forces. There were at least two shooting attacks in Nablus, where three suspects were captured in separate operations.
The latest actions are part of the half-year-long Operation Waves Breaker launched by Jerusalem’s defense establishment to root-out terror elements in the West Bank to counter a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.
Since that time, IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations forces have repeatedly come under attack during nightly raids while carrying out ongoing anti-terror activities throughout Judea and Samaria.
The Israeli defense establishment and the United States have been pressing the PA on to do more to rein in violence by gunmen associated with factions such as the Gaza-based PIJ and Islamist Hamas terrorist groups – which are well entrenched in cities like Jenin and Nablus. The PA, however, increasingly unpopular among many in the West Bank, claims its ability to exert its rule has been systematically undermined by Israel.
In an open appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, an umbrella group of Palestinian terrorists stressed, “We are in great need of members of the security services.” They urged Abbas to: “Declare the fight, and we will be your soldiers. This enemy knows only the language of firepower.”
Senior PA official Hussein al-Sheikh, seen as Abbas’ likely successor, denounced Wednesday’s Jenin operation as a “major crime” for which the Israeli government bears responsibility.
US-brokered peace talks to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict collapsed in 2014. Gaza is controlled by Hamas Islamists opposed to coexistence with Israel.