Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israeli incursions into two Palestinian cities overnight Wednesday that resulted in the deaths of a Hamas operative and a Palestinian security officer.
“This dangerous Israeli escalation seeks to thwart American and international efforts to push the peace process forward — and to bring negotiations to a dead end,” read a statement from Abbas delivered Thursday by his spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh in Wafa, the official PA news organ.
The two men were killed during separate IDF operations in the West Bank cities of Jenin and Qalqilya.
In Jenin, an elite undercover force dressed as television repairmen was discovered on its way to arrest an Islamic Jihad operative and came under fire from assault rifles and explosive devices. Nafea Saadi, a 22-year-old Hamas operative, was killed in the ensuing firefight, while seven other Palestinians were wounded, according to Palestinian accounts.
In a similar incident, a group of IDF paratroopers who were engaged in an arrest operation in Qalqilya came under fire, precipitating a firefight in which Salah Yassin, 28, a security official in one of the PA’s intelligence services, was killed.
In its statement, Abbas’s office called on “the international community to act quickly to rein in Israel,” according to Wafa.
Adnan al-Dhamiri, a PA major general and spokesman for the authority’s security establishment, called the death of Yassin in Qalqilya “a crime” and said it marked an attempt to drag the Palestinians back into a cycle of violence with Israel.
Dhamiri’s comments were reported in the independent Palestinian news outlet Ma’an.
Israeli military said the IDF incursions into PA-controlled territory were necessary to prevent the revival and flourishing of terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank.