The pre-dawn firefight occurred adjacent to the Gilboa Crossing in a zone between Israel’s security barrier with the Palestinian territories.
By Erin Viner
IDF West Bank Division Commander Brigadier General Avi Blot said two Palestinians suspected of plotting to ambush troops in the area were spotted on surveillance cameras early this morning as they approached the so-called ‘seam line zone’ near the Jalamah village just north of the hotbed terrorist city of Jenin.
“IDF troops took cover and shot at the suspects, neutralizing them,” said a military statement.
30-year-old IDF Major Bar Pelah was identified as the fallen officer. The Deputy Commander of the elite Nahal Reconnaissance Unit had returned fire at the terrorists before being hit.
“There are no words to console his family, his partner and his friends for the loss of their loved one,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid this morning.
“Bar was a dedicated soldier, who fought terror and led his troops until his last hour. The operation in which he was killed thwarted a major terrorist attack and saved lives,” stressed the Israeli leader.
“Sadly, it is not a good morning. We lost an officer last night. I convey my condolences to his family and his girlfriend,” IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi commented at a military conference earlier today.
The two dead gunmen, named as Palestinian Authority security officer Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed, were claimed as members by the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group -affiliated faction that calls itself the ‘Jenin Brigade.’ The pair, who were found in possession a Carlo makeshift submachine gun and another semi-automatic weapon, were both residents of the Kafr Dan village near Jenin.
“(The Jenin branch) continues its struggle and resistance against the Zionist occupier and draws the parameters of a new level called the protracted revolution until achieving the goals of our people,” proclaimed Hazem Qassem, Spokesperson for the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror group linked to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas‘ Fatah party also claimed responsibility for the overnight attack, and released footage of armed men shooting at the Jewish community of Har Brakha near Nablus.
Construction to upgrade part of the security fence in the northern West Bank has been ongoing since last June to prevent the infiltration of Palestinian terrorists amid soaring tensions.
IDF, Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and police forces have repeatedly come under attack during nightly raids while carrying out ongoing counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria as part of Operation Waves Breaker, launched in response to the wake of a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.
Seven wanted Palestinians suspected of terror offenses were captured and several weapons were seized in overnight raids amid additional violent encounters in some areas, said the Israeli military.
Over 2,000 wanted Palestinian terror suspects have been captured and hundreds of weapons confiscated in thousands of counterterrorism operations by Israeli security forces over the past four months.