Two senior terror group fighters killed by IDF during raid near Jenin

Two members of a Palestinian terrorist group were killed in a fierce battle with Israeli forces that began during a pre-dawn raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

The Israeli Defense Forces said that special forces from the Haruv and Duvedan divisions entered the nearby village of Wadi Burqin to arrest three Palestinians suspected of involvement in terror.

The army said that the soldiers received heavy bullets during the operation and returned their own fire, adding that “hits were detected.”

The injured were Mohammed Ayman Saadi from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Na’im Zubeidi from the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, although the various armed groups were working together and Jenin against the IDF.

The IDF and Shin Bet security agencies said in a joint statement that the two were terror operatives. The two slain criminals were in their 20s but had already spent time in Israeli prisons for security violations.

Saadi was a “prominent PIJ military operative” responsible for many gun attacks against soldiers, and supporting other operatives, under the direction of PIJ leaders, the statement said.

The statement said that Zubeidi was also responsible for several Israeli military bombings in the West Bank. Palestinian media said Zubeidi is a relative of Zakaria Zubeidi, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist who masterminded terror attacks during the second Intifada and briefly escaped from an Israeli prison last year.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the operation, saying that the two planned and carried out terror attacks in Israel.

“The work of the IDF and security forces tonight in Jenin is a continuation of our negative policy in the fight against terrorism. Two elders [terroritsts] those who were killed, the commander of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, and the leader of al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin, planned and carried out terror attacks in Israeli territory,” Lapid said on Twitter.

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“Especially in these stormy days, when people without sense are trying to drag the IDF into serious arguments and incite the soldiers against their commanders, I want to express my gratitude to the security forces,” he said, referring to criticism of right-wing lawmakers. Punishment for a soldier who killed a violent man in Hebron last week.

“This is the way to fight terrorism, this is the way to protect the citizens of Israel. Take care of yourself,” Lapid added.

Soldiers also seized three M-16 rifles during the raid, the IDF said.

Palestinian media reported that up to 20 people were injured in various degrees, the hospital in Jenin declared a state of emergency, asking the community to come and donate blood.

The IDF said no soldiers were injured in the operation.

Weapons captured by the Israeli army after they raided the West Bank town of Wadi Burqin, near Jenin, December 1, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces).

In a statement early Thursday morning, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad vowed to press charges against Israel for its “heinous crimes.”

Over the past year, the Gaza-based PIJ has fired rockets into Israel in response to groups being killed or arrested in the West Bank.

Hundreds of Jenin residents were filmed taking part in a funeral ceremony for one of the slain soldiers who left the city’s hospital.

The Jenin refugee camp and the surrounding area were identified as terror-stricken by the IDF, which claims to have been forced to work in a village in the Palestinian-controlled Area A of West Bank since the PA lost control of it. in the region. Ramallah insists that the Israeli attack only undermines its legitimacy in the West Bank.

The two killed early Thursday were the seventh and eighth Palestinians killed in the West Bank in less than three days.

One person was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the northern West Bank town of Yabed on Wednesday afternoon. Four Palestinians were killed in clashes with the IDF in the West Bank on Tuesday and another Palestinian was killed after a car attack that seriously wounded one soldier the same day.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank for the past year, with the IDF launching a major terrorist offensive targeting the northern West Bank to counter several Palestinian attacks that have killed 31 people in Israel and the West The bank died. since the beginning of the year.

The operation has resulted in more than 2,500 arrests in night raids, but it has also killed more than 150 Palestinians, most of them – but not all – during attacks or during clashes with security forces.

The IDF said soldiers arrested six other Palestinians wanted during night raids across the West Bank, and seized handguns.

Last month, the UN Mideast envoy said 2022 was going to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began tracking deaths in 2005.

At the same time, there has been a rise in hostilities against Palestinians and security forces.

The Times of Israel staff contributed to this story.

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