2 Palestinian gunmen killed by IDF during demolition of attackers’ homes

Military says troops came under ‘massive gunfire’ in the West Bank village of Kafr Dan, while working to raze homes of gunmen who killed officer in September

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Two Palestinian gunmen were killed in a firefight with Israeli forces in a northern West Bank village early Monday morning, Palestinian media reported, as the troops worked to demolish the homes of two gunmen who killed a military officer last year.

The Israel Defense Forces said that during the operation in Kafr Dan, north of Jenin, troops came under “massive gunfire” by Palestinian gunmen.

Others hurled explosives, stones, and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli forces, and set fire to tires, the IDF said.

“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and fired at a number of armed men who fired at them,” the IDF said, adding that “suspects were hit.”

The deceased were named by the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry as Muhammad Hushiya, 22, and Fuad Abed, 25.

Hushiya was claimed as a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. His body was seen wrapped in the flag of the terror group ahead of his funeral.

Earlier in the night clashes had been reported between IDF soldiers and gunmen in the village, the hometown of two Palestinian gunmen who carried out a deadly attack along the West Bank security barrier on September 14, killing Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit.

A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terror groups issued statements saying members had opened fire at Israeli soldiers operating in the area.

In a statement, the IDF said troops had entered Kafr Dan to demolish the homes of Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed, who were both killed in a gun battle during the attack in September.

Ahmed Abed was an officer in the Palestinian Authority security services.

Ahmed Abed (right) and Abdul Rahman Abed, who opened fire at IDF troops, killing one, and were killed in the subsequent firefight on September 14, 2022 (Composite image: Twitter)

The IDF published footage (above) showing the home demolitions in Kafr Dan.

No soldiers were hurt during the incidents, the military said.

The IDF had mapped out their homes a day after the attack — the first step before demolition — and in September formally notified their families of its intention to raze the homes.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks, as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the measure has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

A military investigation into the death of Falah pointed to “errors” made by troops, who detected the suspects near a military post and moved in to investigate but failed to realize they were armed and were caught unawares by their initial volley of fire, which hit Falah.

Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit, who was killed in a firefight with two terrorists near the West Bank security fence on September 14, 2022. (Courtesy: Family)

Tensions have spiked in the region in recent months as Israeli forces have ratcheted up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts following a series of terror attacks that left 31 people dead in 2022.

Israeli troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in the West Bank.

Kafr Dan is located close to Jenin, where a number of the attacks earlier in 2022 originated and where the IDF has concentrated much of its anti-terror campaign.

In arrest raids across the West Bank early Monday, the IDF said troops arrested 16 wanted Palestinians, with violent incidents in some areas.

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