Fatah calls general strike in West Bank, East Jerusalem

Four Palestinians said killed in West Bank clashes as IDF arrests top Fatah official

Troops also raid terror networks in Jenin, uncovering roadside bombs and an underground tunnel; several gunmen hit in drone strike

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

IDF soldiers work to uncover a terror tunnel during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on November 1, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers work to uncover a terror tunnel during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on November 1, 2023 (Israel Defense Forces)

Four Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank overnight, Palestinian health officials said Wednesday, as Israeli forces moved to arrest a senior official in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and raid terror infrastructure.

The PA health ministry said three people were killed in Jenin, while another was killed in Tulkarem.

Undercover police forces first entered Jenin late Tuesday to arrest Atta Abu Rumaila, 63, the secretary-general of Fatah in the northern West Bank city.

Military sources said there was no resistance during Abu Rumaila’s arrest; he was detained along with his son.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security agency said that in recent months, Abu Rumaila had “advanced terror activity with funding of tens of thousands of shekels, and helped wanted persons and terrorist operatives.”

The joint statement said that Abu Rumaila “took a significant part in escalating the security situation in the region,” and that his son was a local terror operative.

Abu Rumaila was also a “central inciter of violence in Judea and Samaria, calling for terror attacks against soldiers and Israel while taking advantage of his public standing,” the statement said, using the biblical terms for the West Bank.

“Given his status in Judea and Samaria and overseas, his actions constituted a high threat that warranted his immediate arrest, the statement said.

Fatah is the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority and has largely cooperated with Israel in trying to combat West Bank terror in recent years.

Later, Israeli troops again entered Jenin to “foil terror infrastructure,” the IDF said.

The troops found and destroyed explosive devices planted in the roads and an underground tunnel used by gunmen. A car with ammunition and military equipment was also captured and confiscated.

Amid the operation, troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen. The IDF carried out a drone strike against a number of gunmen amid the gun battle.

There was no immediate word from the IDF on what occurred in Tulkarem.

Later Wednesday, the IDF said that troops had detained 46 wanted Palestinians, including 30 affiliated with the Hamas terror group, in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank.

There have been frequent clashes in the West Bank since the war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7 after Hamas terrorists massacred over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel. Troops have arrested more than 1,180 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including some 740 affiliated with Hamas.

According to data from the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 122 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since October 7.

In response to the raids and the fighting in Gaza, Fatah on Wednesday called a general strike across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The strike affected businesses, banks and universities, and was called to denounce the Israeli “aggression” in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and accompanied by calls to “escalate the confrontation with the occupation.”

Gianluca Pacchiani and Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

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