West Bank village erupts after undercover soldiers arrest Islamic Jihad activists

Rubber bullets and tear gas reportedly used in clashes; army says operation carried out to stop terror attack

Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Tamoun, January 1. (photo credit: AP/Mohammed Ballas)
Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Tamoun, January 1. (photo credit: AP/Mohammed Ballas)

A raid by Israeli soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors to seize members of a terror group sparked intense clashes in the northern West Bank Tuesday.

Residents in the town of Tamoun said youths tossed stones and bottles at Israeli troops, while the soldiers responded with rubber bullets.

Army officials said the operation was carried out to prevent a planned terror attack in the advanced stages, Israel Radio reported.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that 30 people were wounded from live fire and 100 suffered injuries from tear gas. Israeli reports and the Associated Press put the number of injured in the single digits.

Two Israeli troops were lightly injured, according to army officials.

The clashes lasted from the morning to the late afternoon, when the soldiers left the town.

Military officials said Border Police forces entered the town and arrested Islamic Jihad activist Murad Beni Ouda, as well as another person.

The soldiers were dressed as vegetable sellers, according to Palestinian sources, and during the course of the operation removed their disguises.

Youths set tires and bins on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers.

The clashes, which broke out in several parts of the town of some 8,000 people, were a rare, angry response.

The Israeli military initially declined to comment on the incident.

Later, Border Police officials said the operation had gone as planned.

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Clashes were also reported elsewhere in the West Bank.

Near the Esh Kodesh outpost, close to Ramallah, settlers and Palestinians threw stones at each other. The fighting erupted when Palestinian farmers, accompanied by IDF soldiers, arrived to tend to their land. Two of the soldiers were lightly injured in the ensuing violence.

In another incident, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at the Rachel’s Tomb compound near Bethlehem, Israel Radio reported. Palestinian security forces managed to clear the suspects away from the area.

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