IDF says gunmen set off bomb as troops entered home

Palestinian gunmen ‘planning significant attacks’ killed in Jenin gunbattle with IDF

4 dead include Abd al-Rahman Hazem, whose brother killed 3 in Tel Aviv terror attack; Hazem and 2nd gunman carried out several recent attacks; PA man who opened fire among killed

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

Smoke is seen rising from a home in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, September 28, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Smoke is seen rising from a home in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, September 28, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter)

At least four Palestinians were killed in an Israeli military raid Wednesday morning in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

A Border Police spokesman said in a statement that officers along with Israel Defense Forces soldiers sought to arrest Abd al-Rahman Hazem, the brother of a terrorist who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv earlier this year, and Muhammed Alownah.

The pair were responsible for a series of shooting attacks in recent months, including one that targeted a Defense Ministry engineering vehicle working along the northern West Bank security barrier earlier this month, the police spokesman said.

Israeli officials said the pair planned “more significant attacks in the near future.”

Israeli troops had surrounded the home belonging to the family of Ra’ad Hazem, the terrorist who opened fire on April 7 on patrons at the Ilka bar on Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv, killing three.

Footage published by Palestinian media outlets showed smoke rising from the building in Jenin.

Palestinian media reported that troops fired small missiles at the building, but the IDF and police said the wanted gunmen set off a large bomb as troops attempted to enter the home.

The IDF later published drone footage showing the moment the two gunmen set off the explosive devices as troops surrounded the home.

“Hazem and Alownah were killed in the exchange of fire,” police said, adding that troops seized an assault rifle from one of the gunmen.

Police also published headcam footage of officers approaching the home and killing one of the gunmen who appeared to have jumped out of the building.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said another two people were killed in the clashes, and 44 others were hurt, including several listed in serious condition.

A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group said its members opened fire at troops near the Hazem family home.

The third killed Palestinian was identified as Ahmed Alawneh, 24, a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces. He was killed as he was firing at Israeli troops in the area, according to footage published by Palestinian media outlets.

The fourth fatality was named as Muhammad Abu Na’asa.

There were no Israeli injuries in the operation.

Hazem’s father, Fathi, as well as two of his brothers, have been wanted for questioning since the attack.

Fathi Hazem publicly praised his son’s actions following the deadly assault on the busy bar.

Police and rescue workers at the scene of a deadly terror attack on Dizengoff Street, central Tel Aviv, April 7, 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

Hazem killed Tomer Morad and Eytam Magini, two friends aged 27, and Barak Lufan, a 35-year-old father of three, in the shooting and injured about a dozen others.

He went on the run following the murders and was found hiding near a mosque in Jaffa after an hours-long manhunt involving hundreds of security officers.

While initially raising his hands in surrender, Hazem then drew a gun and opened fire on the officers, who fired back and killed him, security forces said at the time.

Earlier this month, the IDF demolished Hazem’s apartment in the Jenin refugee camp.

Fathi Hazem, the father of Raad Hazem, 28, a Palestinian terrorist who killed three Israelis and wounded several others in Tel Aviv the previous night, hugs a friend at his home on April 8, 2022 in the West Bank city of Jenin. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The IDF raid Wednesday came amid rising violence in the West Bank, particularly in its north.

On Tuesday night, Israeli troops came under gunfire near the Palestinian town of Asira ash-Shamaliya during “routine activity.”

Palestinian gunmen in recent months have targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

In recent months Israeli troops have also repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

The military launched the arrest operations after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May, including the Tel Aviv shooting.

Many of the IDF’s arrests in recent months have concentrated on Nablus and Jenin, in the northern West Bank, where a number of the terrorists who committed the attacks earlier this year hailed from.

Israeli security officials have warned in recent months that the Palestinian Authority is losing control of the northern West Bank.

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