Palestinian gunman dies of wounds weeks after clashing with Israeli troops in Jenin

Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade vows to avenge Ezzedin Kanan, who was wounded during major counterterror operation in early July; IDF says troops targeted overnight in separate incidents

Palestinian gunmen take up positions during a confrontation with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Jenin on July 3, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian gunmen take up positions during a confrontation with the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Jenin on July 3, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency reported Saturday that a 20-year-old terror group member died a month after being wounded in clashes during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, as the Israel Defense Forces reported overnight attacks on troops.

The WAFA news agency said Ezzedin Kanan, from the town of Jaba near Jenin, was shot in the head on July 3 during one of the most intense Israeli counterterror operations in the West Bank since an armed Palestinian uprising against Israel ended two decades ago.

An offshoot of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s secular nationalist Fatah party, the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed Kanan as one of its “fiercest fighters” and pledged to avenge his loss. Armed and masked militants flanked the mourning procession for Kanan as his body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag and adorned with a headband from the group, was carried through his home village of Jaba.

Kanan’s death brings the total to 14 killed in the raid, which lasted two days and included airstrikes, hundreds of ground troops and bulldozers that were used to raze roads and buildings.

The army claimed to have inflicted heavy damage on terror organizations in the Jenin refugee camp and that it had confiscated thousands of weapons, bomb-making materials and caches of money during the raid.

Since early 2022, Israel has been carrying out near daily raids in the West Bank in response to a series of deadly Palestinian attacks. It says the raids are meant to crack down on Palestinian terrorists and said they are necessary because the Palestinian Authority is too weak.

Illustrative: Palestinian gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in the northern West Bank city of Nablus June 7, 2020. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Also Saturday, the IDF said Israeli forces were targeted in separate incidents overnight.

As troops arrested two suspects in Kafr Dan near Jenin, armed Palestinians fired at them and hurled an explosive device, according to the military, which said the soldiers returned fire.

Additionally, gunmen shot at an IDF post near the southern West Bank village of Khursa. Troops subsequently launched a manhunt for the assailants.

No soldiers were wounded in either incident. The military added that the two arrested suspects were taken in for further questioning and that troops seized a firebomb while detaining them.

The IDF said Palestinians also opened fire earlier Saturday at a cistern near the Avnei Hefetz settlement, resulting in no injuries as nobody was there at the time. Soldiers were scouring the area for suspects.

Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers operate in the West Bank town of Beita, August 21, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year have left 27 civilians and two soldiers dead, and several others seriously wounded.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 175 West Bank Palestinians have also been killed during the same period — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances, including by armed Israeli settlers.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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