Palestinian Authority police officer shot by IDF in Jenin dies of wounds
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IDF investigating highly irregular incident

Palestinian Authority police officer shot by IDF in Jenin dies of wounds

In footage released by Palestinians, officer is seen standing inside station, not appearing to threaten Israeli troops; incident follows death of cadet

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A Palestinian Authority police officer succumbed to his wounds on Thursday afternoon after he was shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Jenin in what the military said were unclear circumstances.

Around the time of his death, Palestinians shared video footage on social media of the moment the officer — Staff Sgt. Tareq Badwan, 25 — was hit by Israeli fire, apparently showing that he was standing in uniform inside a police station in Jenin at the time and did not appear to be a threat to the Israeli soldiers operating in the city.

Badwan was the second Palestinian security officer killed in Jenin overnight. Yazan Abu Tabikh, 19, a PA police cadet, was also shot dead during clashes that broke out in the city during the IDF’s demolition of a terrorist’s home in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, according to Palestinian officials.

The Israeli military on Thursday morning said Badwan was shot by Israeli troops, though it was not immediately clear why, and that it would be investigating the matter. The IDF did not acknowledge shooting Abu Tabikh specifically, but said that generally all of the events of Thursday morning were being reviewed.

Badwan’s death threatened to further destabilize the security situation in the West Bank, which has been especially strained in the past week following the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which the PA roundly rejected as unfairly favoring Israel, threatening to cut off all security cooperation with the Jewish state.

In the predawn hours of Thursday morning, IDF soldiers — assisted by Border Police and the Shin Bet — entered Jenin in order to again raze the home of Ahmed Kunba who was charged with assisting in a terrorist shooting attack that killed Rabbi Raziel Shevach in 2018. The military first demolished the building in 2018, but it had since been rebuilt.

During the demolition, which was completed successfully, rioting broke out nearby. IDF troops responded with live fire and less-lethal riot dispersal weapons, the military said. According to the official PA news outlet Wafa, six Palestinians were also injured by Israeli fire during the clashes.

Israeli troops demolish the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank city of Jenin on February 6, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

Zilberman said that Israeli troops came under sniper fire during the demolition and that rioting broke out nearby.

According to the spokesman, the military anticipated that troops may come under fire during the demolition from a Palestinian sniper cell that had been shooting at Israeli soldiers in Jenin recently. As a result, a team of Israeli snipers was brought along to the operation.

When Israeli troops saw that shots had been fired at them, the snipers returned fire, Zilberman said.

“Our snipers hit that cell,” he said.

No Israeli soldiers were injured.

The clashes in Jenin also came a day after Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager as he was throwing a Molotov cocktail at them during a riot in the West Bank city of Hebron, further raising tensions in the region.

“We are dealing with a week that has been relatively violent,” Zilberman said, citing increased riots, resistance to arrests and general friction in the West Bank. In addition, at least 12 soldiers were injured in a car-ramming in Jerusalem in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli checkpoint during clashes with Israeli forces in the center of the flashpoint city of Hebron in the West Bank on February 4, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

Asked why the IDF decided to go ahead with a home demolition despite the fraught situation in the area, as it is the type of operation that could easily be postponed for more preferable timing, Zilberman rejected the implied criticism.

“You can say that about any operation,” he said.

Shevach, a father of six, was murdered by Ahmad Nassar Jarrar on January 9 in a drive-by shooting as he traveled down the highway outside the Havat Gilad illegal outpost where he lived.

Kunba was charged with attempted murder in 2018 for his alleged role in the attack. He was also accused of plotting and carrying out several other security offenses along with Jarrar. According to the charge sheet, among several attempted attacks against Israeli civilians or soldiers, the two opened fire on a bus, and unsuccessfully attempted to infiltrate the settlement of Dotan. Jarrar escaped after the attack, but was killed in a shootout with IDF troops outside Jenin less than a month later.

Israeli troops demolish the home of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank city of Jenin on February 6, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel made frequent use of home demolitions until 2005, when the government decided to stop employing the measure. However, in 2014, it was brought back into use.

There is a dispute among security analysts and officials over the utility of home demolitions in combating terrorism, with some seeing it as an effective deterrent against terror attacks and others as an ineffective form of collective punishment.

Adam Rasgon and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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