Palestinian gunman killed, terror cell arrested by Israeli forces in Jenin

Mustafa al-Kastouni, 32, member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, opened fire at troops during raid in northern West Bank city; Border Police officer lightly hurt

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

Mustafa al-Kastouni, reported to be a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, who was killed by Israeli forces in Jenin, August 17, 2023. (Social media)
Mustafa al-Kastouni, reported to be a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, who was killed by Israeli forces in Jenin, August 17, 2023. (Social media)

A Palestinian gunman was killed and two others, members of a terror cell, were arrested by Israeli forces in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday morning, the military said.

In a joint statement, the Israel Defense Forces, Border Police, and Shin Bet security agency said troops entered Jenin to arrest members of a terror cell planning attacks.

Undercover Border Police officers arrested two wanted Palestinians outside a building in Jenin, following intelligence given to them by the Shin Bet of their whereabouts.

A gunman, named as 32-year-old Mustafa al-Kastouni, opened fire from inside the building at the Israeli forces, defense officials said. The Border Police troops broke into the building, and amid an exchange of fire, al-Kastouni was killed, and one Israeli officer was lightly hurt by shrapnel.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry said al-Kastouni was fatally shot in the head, chest, and abdomen by Israeli soldiers. He was identified by Palestinian media outlets as a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

The Shin Bet said al-Kastouni had been previously involved in gunfire toward Israeli forces in the West Bank.

The IDF said forces found a weapon and dozens of primed explosive devices inside the building. The explosive devices were destroyed, leading to claims by Palestinian media that Israeli forces “blew up a bakery” in Jenin.

As the Israeli forces left the northern West Bank city, Palestinian gunmen opened fire and hurled explosives, the IDF said. Troops returned fire, hitting several armed men, the military said.

The IDF last operated in Jenin on July 31, four weeks after a major operation in the northern West Bank city.

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 attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

The IDF said that troops detained ten more wanted Palestinians during sweeps across the West Bank early Thursday, with violence in some areas.

Also early Thursday, an IDF officer was lightly hurt after coming under fire during a patrol near the northern West Bank village of Burqa, the military said.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 26 people dead and several others seriously wounded since the beginning of the year.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 172 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.

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