image Photo: IDF, Flash90

Top terrorists killed in IDF clash

The deadly firefight with Palestinian terrorists occurred during a a predawn raid by near the flashpoint West Bank city of Jenin.

By Erin Viner

Palestinian gunmen shot at the Haruv and Duvdevan special forces units during an arrest mission in the village of Wadi Burqin for three wanted terror suspects, said the IDF, and “hits” were identified when the forces returned fire.

According to a joint statement issued by the IDF and the Israeli Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet), two gunmen in their twenties were killed in the battle. Both had served time in Israeli prisons for terror-related activity.

One of the fatalities was identified as Mohammed Ayman Saadi, a senior recruiter for the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, responsible for arming other terrorists and carrying out numerous shooting attacks on Israeli forces in addition to other offenses.

The second was named as Na’im Zubeidi, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror faction linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Local sources said Zubeidi was employed as a PA security officer. The IDF-ISA statement said that Zubeidi, who also carried out shooting attacks at Israeli troops, was related to the infamous terrorist Zakariya Zubeidi, who orchestrated devastating attacks against Israeli civilians during the Second Intifada.

“This is the way to fight terrorism; this is the way to protect the citizens of Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid this morning in commendation of the nation’s security forces.

“The two senior terrorists who were thwarted – a field commander in Jenin and a member of the Islamic Jihad; and a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin – planned and carried out attacks on Israeli territory,” said the outgoing Israeli leader, adding that the mission “s a direct continuation of our uncompromising policy on the fight against terrorism.”

Referring to the uproar over the past week about attempted political interference with military command, Prime Minister Lapid added, “Precisely in these stormy times, when irresponsible parties are trying to drag the IDF into an extreme debate and incite soldiers against their commanders, I want to express my appreciation to the security forces. This is the way to fight terrorism; this is the way to protect the citizens of Israel.”

The latest deadly clashes came as part of  Operation Waves Breaker, launched eight months ago to counter terrorism in response to a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that has now killed 31 people in Israel since since the start of the year.

Over 20 suspected terror operatives have been captured over the past 48 hours alone. One of the apprehended terrorists was Aha Aa’ani Harzallah of the town of Ya’bad, who was previously imprisoned twice and is suspected of recent terrorist activity, said the joint IDF-ISA statement, adding that during the operation an M-16 rifle, a military vest and 50,000 NIS (equivalent to about $2,948 or €2,800) for terror activity were confiscated.

Armed suspects fired and hurled explosive devices at the soldiers during the operation, who responded with live fire.

No injuries to IDF troops were reported in any of the incidents.