image Photo: Flash90

PIJ terror leader slain in Jenin battle

Israeli security forces shot dead a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group during special operations in the West Bank city

By Erin Viner

[Breaking News: At the time of this writing, the IDF is launching strikes on a rocket developing and manufacturing complex belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. The action comes in retaliation after three failed attempts by Islamists in the lawless territory at Israel late last night. “This strike will significantly impede the rocket intensification and armament attempts of the Hamas terrorist organization,” said the IDF in a statement, while stressing that nation’s defense establishment “holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for all terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip, and it will face the consequences of the security violations against Israel.”]

The commander of the PIJ’s Jenin branch of the group’s armed “Quds Brigade” Farouk Salama was killed during a heavy exchange of gunfire yesterday, after he shot a handgun at Israeli forces. An M-16 rifle and other weapons were seized during the operation.

Salama, 28, was responsible for the murder of IDF Command Sergeant Major Noam Raz on 13 May said the Israeli military.

Raz, a 23-year veteran of the Israel National Counter-Terrorism (INCT, Yamam) Unit was killed during a joint operation by the Police, Border Guard and the Golani Reconnaissance Unit to capture senior terror suspects in Jenin when the Israeli forces came under fire from multiple directions. The fallen officer was a married father of six. Just weeks before his untimely death, he was attributed with saving the life of a Chief Superintendent, who had been severely wounded in a clash with terrorists in the Tulkarem area.

Five other terrorists were detained during the rare daytime joint raid by the IDF and the Border Police Yamas special forces unit, although wanted PIJ operative Kasem Abu Al Bassam reportedly managed to evade capture.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is based in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, but has spread its malign influence to the West Bank.

IDF,  Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations forces have been conducting counterterrorism activity in the West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria as part of the half-year-long Operation Waves Breaker launched by Jerusalem’s defense establishment to root-out terror elements following a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that another combatant, Mohammad Khalouf, 14, was killed in Jenin and four others wounded. The Israeli military did not immediately offer further comment on the allegation.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, blamed Israel for the current escalation, claiming that the stepped up military strikes in West Bank cities could lead to “an all out explosion and to the point of no return.”

Palestinian authorities failed to address the stabbing of an Israeli police officer on Wednesday in Jerusalem’s Old City by an Arab terrorist. The incident took place near the Al Aqsa Mosque, a flashpoint of violence and an icon of Palestinian nationalism.

The mosque, known as Haram al Sharif by Muslims, is built on the ruins of both Biblical Temples. The area is called Temple Mount by Israel, and considered by the Jewish People as the holiest site in the world, also revered to Christians. The compound is Islam’s third most sacred site after Mecca and Medina; and the Al-Aqsa Mosque area is the most sensitive site in the generations-old conflict.