A Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunman was shot dead as he opened fire toward Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Jenin overnight, the Israel Police said in a statement Thursday morning.
The assailant was identified by Palestinian media as Alaa Nassar Shafik Zayoud. The Islamic Jihad terror group confirmed he was a member of the organization.
According to the police, the Palestinian opened fire at the troops at short range during a riot while they were carrying out operations in the village of Burqin. No Israeli troops were injured.
Thursday’s gun battle was the latest exchange between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli security forces in recent weeks in the Jenin area.
Members of the Border Police’s undercover unit and the Israel Defense Forces’ Haruv counter-terrorism reconnaissance unit were in Burqin as part of an ongoing crackdown on a Hamas cell that is believed to be operating in the West Bank, the military said.
Police said the troops were “working to arrest suspects and located weapons in the village of Burqin based on instructions from the Shin Bet security service.”
The Islamic Jihad identifies 22-year-old Alaa Zayoud, the Palestinian killed during a gun battle with Israeli troops near Jenin overnight, as its member. pic.twitter.com/E1TVsHrxSX
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) September 30, 2021
A riot broke out in response to the raid, during which Zayoud allegedly opened fire.
The statement said that officers returned fire and killed the gunman and also seized his weapon, a makeshift Carlo-style submachine gun.
Video footage of the exchange was widely shared on social media, showing Israeli troops approaching a house as gunfire can be heard.
Palestinian media also reported that several people were wounded and others arrested by Israeli soldiers during the clash.
On Sunday, Israeli security forces conduct a series of raids in the Jenin area and elsewhere in the West Bank that saw five Palestinian suspects killed in gunfights with troops over the weekend, including one in Burqin that saw a clash in which two soldiers were seriously injured, possibly by so-called friendly fire.
Israeli officials said the operations prevented a major terror attack.
The cell had planned to conduct a sequence of kidnappings and murders across the country, defense officials told Channel 13 news. The group did not, however, have the capability to commit suicide bombings, the network said.
Officials speaking to Channel 12 estimated that the cell had also been planning a major attack in Jerusalem, similar to those seen during the violent Second Intifada uprising in the early 2000s, without elaborating further.
The arrest operation began after the Shin Bet realized that the group was set to carry out the attack imminently, the network said.
The Israel Defense Forces believes some members of the Hamas cell are still on the loose. In total, some 20 suspected members of the cell have been arrested in recent days, according to the military.
The IDF was investigating the circumstances in which two soldiers were seriously injured and increasingly believes that they were hit by friendly fire after a Palestinian gunman opened fire at them in Burqin.
Their conditions have steadily improved. The father of one of the soldiers said Wednesday that a bullet that struck his son hit a grenade he was carrying but luckily did not cause the device to detonate.