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In West Bank, undercover troops nab Islamic Jihad man accused of planning attacks

Police say Abdullah Loubani, detained in village near Jenin, was in contact with members of Gaza Strip-based terror group, PIJ

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

Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group are seen during the funeral of Mateen Debaya, killed during an Israeli raid, in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on October 14, 2022. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)
Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group are seen during the funeral of Mateen Debaya, killed during an Israeli raid, in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on October 14, 2022. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Undercover Border Police officers arrested a wanted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror operative in a village near the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said the suspect, Abdullah Loubani, was in contact with members of the PIJ in the Gaza Strip and was involved in planning terror attacks in Israel on behalf of the terror group.

There were no clashes during the daytime raid in the village of Bir al-Basha, some 15 kilometers southwest of Jenin.

Loubani was transferred to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning, the spokesman added.

On Saturday, troops arrested another PIJ member in the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, during a daytime raid.

Officials said Muhammad Abu Zina had been conducting “significant terror activity,” which included work to finance and arm PIJ operatives in the northern West Bank.

Israeli troops of the Nahal Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion operate in the West Bank town of Qabatiya, near Jenin, November 12, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

This spring, the military launched a major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 29 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year.

The operation has netted more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left over 130 Palestinians dead, many of them — though not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

In arrests raids early Thursday, troops arrested 13 wanted Palestinians.

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

The Defense Ministry said that shots were fired at the Jalamah checkpoint in the northern West Bank on Thursday, without causing any damage or injuries. “The crossing has been closed and security forces are conducting scans in the area,” the ministry said.

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