Two officers in the Palestinian Authority’s security service were shot dead Wednesday night in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces operating in the northern West Bank.
A third Palestinian, a suspected member of the Islamic Jihad terror group who was the target of an Israeli arrest operation, was also killed in the firefight.
According to Palestinian media, the exchange of fire began when officers in the Border Police’s counterterrorism-focused Special Police Unit, known by its Hebrew acronym Yamam, sought to arrest two Palestinian terror suspects following a manhunt outside the headquarters of the PA Military Intelligence Unit headquarters in Jenin.
Two Palestinian Military Intelligence officers on guard duty noticed the arrest operation taking place, with the undercover Israeli forces operating out of a civilian vehicle, and chose to engage, likely not realizing that this was an Israeli raid.
1. תקרית חריגה הלילה בג'נין: כוח מסתערבים נכנס לעיר כדי לתפוס שני מבוקשים שלפחות אחד מהם מזוהה עם הג'יהאד האיסלאמי. המבוקשים הם ג'מיל אל-עאמורי איש גא"פ והשני ויסאם אבו זיד. השניים הסתתרו ליד מבנה השייך למודיעין הצבאי הפלסטיני (אחד מגופי המנגנונים הפלסטינים).
המשך בציוץ הבא ⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/GVjSHeJ6OF
— Elior Levy • אליאור לוי (@eliorlevy) June 10, 2021
According to Israel’s Border Police, the arrest operation targeted two suspects from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who were believed to be behind a series of shooting attacks against Israeli security forces in recent weeks who were hiding in the building adjacent to the PA Military Intelligence compound.
The two PA security officers killed in the exchange were identified by the Palestinian Authority as Lieutenant Adham Aliwi, 23, from the village of Zawata near Nablus, and Captain Taysir Issa, 33, of the town of Sanur near Jenin.
The third man killed was one of targets of the operation, Jamil Al-Amouri. The second suspect, Wisam Abu Zeid, was wounded and arrested.
No Israeli troops were injured in the incident.
Unconfirmed reports said Israeli forces arrested two other people during the operation. It was not clear if the surviving suspect, Abu Zeid, was one of them.
A senior commander in the PA security forces told the Palestinian Al Quds news site that the IDF did not warn his soldiers of their Jenin arrest operation ahead of time.
Online video appeared to show Palestinian officers taking cover behind a vehicle as gunshots are heard in the background. One shouts that they are exchanging fire with Israeli “undercover” forces.
Typically, Israeli troops coordinate their entry into Palestinian cities with PA security forces in order to allow the latter to draw back and avoid confrontation. However, miscommunications have taken place in the past, leading IDF soldiers to mistakenly target PA forces, thinking they are terror operatives.
חילופי האש בג'נין | לפי מקורות פלסטיניים, ההרוגים הם תייסיר עיסא, בן 33, קצין בדרגת סגן במנגנון המודיעין הצבאי הפלסטיני ואדהם עליווי, בן 23, איש מנגנון המודיעין הצבאי הפלסטיני@galberger pic.twitter.com/jmqvoEom2Y
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) June 9, 2021
There have also been instances where individuals in PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces have gone rogue and opened fire at Israeli troops unprovoked.
A spokesman for Abbas condemned what he called a “dangerous Israeli escalation,” saying the three were killed by Israeli special forces who disguise themselves as Arabs during arrest raids. The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, called on the international community and the United States to intervene to halt such attacks.
The overnight incident came less than a month after Israeli soldiers mistakenly opened fire on two PA intelligence officers whom they mistook for terrorists as they pulled up to the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank.
Ahmad Daraghme, a resident of the West Bank town of Laban al-Sharqiya near Nablus, was killed at the scene. His colleague Mohammad al-Nubani was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.
Aaron Boxerman. Judah Ari Gross and AP contributed to this report.