IDF raids West Bank Palestinian gun workshops; 11 suspects detained

Troops clash with gunmen in Jenin during nightly arrest operations; nearly a dozen firearms seized across West Bank

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

A lathe for manufacturing illegal weapons in the West Bank village of Urif, seized by IDF troops on February 21, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
A lathe for manufacturing illegal weapons in the West Bank village of Urif, seized by IDF troops on February 21, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops raided three workshops in the West Bank early Tuesday morning that the army said were used to manufacture firearms, during overnight operations that saw 11 Palestinians detained and 11 firearms seized.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops entered the village of Urif near the West Bank city of Nablus to detain two wanted Palestinians who were suspected of involvement in terror activities.

During the raid, the IDF said troops found and confiscated three gunsmithing lathes, a makeshift “Carlo” submachine gun, an M16 assault rifle, dozens of weapon parts and ammunition, and a car.

For the past year, the IDF has been conducting near-nightly raids during an anti-terror offensive in the West Bank following a series of Palestinian terror attacks that killed 31 people in 2022, and another 11 since the beginning of the year.

The military said troops also clashed with Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Jenin overnight. Two wanted Palestinians were detained, and the troops seized four M16 rifles and two handguns, the IDF said.

In several Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area, the military said troops detained three wanted Palestinians and seized an M16 rifle, two handguns, and ammunition.

Firearms seized by Israeli troops during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, early February 21, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

A wanted man was also detained in the town of Bir Nabala, just north of Jerusalem, and another two men were arrested in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, adjacent to Jericho, the IDF said.

The 11 wanted Palestinians were handed over to the Shin Bet for further questioning.

No Israeli soldiers were reported hurt during the raids.

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank early February 21, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF’s year-long operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. 171 Palestinians were killed in 2022, and another 49 have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others under more questionable circumstances that are being investigated.

There has also been a rise in revenge attacks by Israelis against Palestinians following recent terror attacks.

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