Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Friday morning during an arrest raid, according to the military and Palestinian media reports.
The Israel Defense Forces said troops entered Jenin to arrest a Palestinian man wanted for his alleged involvement in terror activity and arms dealing, after receiving intelligence about the suspect’s whereabouts from the Shin Bet security agency.
The suspect was detained, and a cache of firearms, weapons parts, and other military equipment was seized, the IDF said.
Amid the raid, Palestinian gunmen opened fire and hurled explosive devices at troops, the military said. No soldiers were reported hurt.
Footage published by Palestinian media outlets showed a convoy of Israeli military vehicles entering Jenin, with one apparently coming under fire.
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) April 28, 2023
A large explosion rocked the city, with images showing a plume of white smoke rising from a building.
A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claimed its members had opened fire at Israeli troops in the city and set off a number of explosive devices.
The IDF said troops had returned fire at the gunmen, adding that at least one was hit. His condition was not immediately known.
عاجل | مشاهد من الانفجار الكبير الذي هز أرجاء جنين قبل قليل pic.twitter.com/IQMCA9uclv
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) April 28, 2023
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 19 people dead since the beginning of the year and several more seriously hurt.
At least 94 Palestinians 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 were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.
Earlier on Friday, an unverified report circulating on social media claimed a senior member of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority security services.
????صورة المطارد (عدي العزيزي) والضابط في قوات الأمن الوطنيّ، وقائد مجموعات "عرين الأسود" في نابلس، الذي قام بتسليم نفسه للأجهزة الأمنيّة من أجل حمايته. pic.twitter.com/uROqyzEv14
— إعلام الثورة (@elthwrah) April 28, 2023
The claim of Udai al-Azizi’s arrest overnight was not confirmed by Palestinian media outlets or Palestinian officials. Israeli security officials were aware of the claim and said al-Azizi was apparently afraid of being assassinated by Israel and preferred the protection of Palestinian forces, if the report was correct.
Last year, several Lion’s Den gunmen turned themselves in to the PA in exchange for immunity, after Israel carried out a series of raids that killed the apparent leader of the group and other gunmen.
The Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks targeting Israelis in the West Bank, including the killing of a soldier last October.