Teen Palestinian girl killed during battle between troops, gunmen in Jenin — PA

Jana Zakarna, 16, reportedly found dead on roof following gunfight touched off by Israeli arrest raid in northern West Bank city; troops targeted with live fire and explosives

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

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, in the early morning of December 11, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, in the early morning of December 11, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

A teenage Palestinian girl was killed as gunmen clashed with troops in Jenin during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank city late Sunday, Palestinian authorities said.

Jana Majdi Assam Zakarna, 16, was pronounced dead at a Jenin hospital after being shot in the head by Israeli soldiers, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Zakarna was found dead on the roof of her home after the Israeli troops withdrew from Jenin.

The Israeli military said it was aware of the teenager’s death and that an investigation was underway.

Three other Palestinians were reported wounded in the clashes, which included live fire and explosives, as Israeli troops and Border Police officers, including some operating undercover, raided a Jenin business late Sunday.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Border Police unit confirmed that troops opened fire and said three terror suspects were arrested during the late night operation.

“Following the arrests, violent riots developed, including live fire and explosives from various ranges directed at [Israeli] forces,” a Border Police spokesperson said said in a statement. “The undercover officers, Border Police troops and Israel Defense Forces soldiers returned fire toward the terrorists.”

Footage shared on social media showed troops emerging from a van and entering a storefront, then emerging with Palestinians who have their hands bound.

Heavy gunfire can be heard in the clips, and explosions could be heard in other videos from the city, including one that appears to show a bomb going off next to a military jeep.

No Israeli troops were injured, police said.

A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group confirmed opening fire and hurling explosives at Israeli troops.

The three arrested suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet security service, and an M16 rifle used by the Palestinians was seized, Israel said.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank over the past year, with the IDF conducting an ongoing major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks.

The operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left more than 165 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

In arrest overnight raids, troops arrested 18 wanted Palestinians, including the three in Jenin, the IDF said Monday morning.

An M16 rifle seized by Israeli forces during a raid in Jenin on December 11, 2022. (Police Spokesperson)

Many deadly clashes have occurred in the Jenin and Nablus area, where Israel’s forces have concentrated most arrest operations.

On Thursday, three Palestinian gunmen were killed during a gun battle with Israeli forces in Jenin. A week earlier, another two Palestinian terror operatives were killed in similar clashes in the West Bank city.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have also repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

The IDF has recorded around 300 shooting attacks and attempts against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank this year, compared to just 91 last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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