Two Palestinians were killed on Thursday amid clashes with Israeli troops during a daytime military raid in the West Bank city of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, the military and Palestinian health officials said.
Border Police officers entered Qabatiya to arrest Muhammad Alawneh, a wanted Palestinian allegedly involved in terror activities and planning further attacks, according to a joint statement by police, the military, and the Shin Bet security agency.
The statement said that Alawneh and an additional suspect fled the scene as troops sought to arrest him. The officers opened fire as they arrested Alawneh, and the second suspect was hit by the troops’ gunfire.
Another armed man opened fire at troops from a passing vehicle amid the operation, the statement said. The soldiers returned fire, hitting the man, before seizing his M16 assault rifle.
The statement added that several more Palestinians, who allegedly hurled stones at the troops during the raid, were shot.
According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, Habib Mohammed Abdul Rahman Kamil, 25, was shot in the head by the troops during the clashes in the area and later died.
الصحة: استشهاد الشاب حبيب محمد عبد الرحمن كميل ( ٢٥ عاماً) برصاص الاحتلال الحي في الرأس، في بلدة قباطية. pic.twitter.com/Do4wdbzzMF
— إذاعة الأقصى – عاجل (@Alaqsavoice_Brk) January 12, 2023
A second Palestinian, 18-year-old Abdul Hadi Fakhri Youssef Nazzal, died several hours after being critically hurt in the clashes, the ministry said.
وزارة الصحة: اســـــتشهاد عبد الهادي فخري يوسف نزال (18 عاماً) من بلدة قباطية متأثراً بإصابته برصاص قوات الاحتلال مساء اليوم. pic.twitter.com/M93Vi1nuQo
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) January 12, 2023
It was not immediately clear if two slain Palestinians were involved in the gunfire, the violent riots, or if one of them was the second suspect that initially fled with Alawneh.
The ministry said another three Palestinians were wounded in the clashes.
In a statement, a local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed to have targeted troops in the area.
No Israeli soldiers or officers were hurt during the raid, officials said.
Kamil and Nazzal were the fourth and fifth Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in less than two days, after a man was shot dead after allegedly hurling cinderblocks at troops in the Qalandiya refugee camp early Thursday, an alleged Palestinian stabber was shot dead in the South Hebron Hills on Wednesday afternoon and a Palestinian gunman was killed in clashes with the IDF in Nablus in the morning.
Samir Awni Harbi Aslan, 41, was killed as troops detained six wanted Palestinians in the refugee camp north of Jerusalem early Thursday. The IDF said another 11 Palestinians were arrested elsewhere across the West Bank overnight, with some violent incidents.
In a separate raid on Thursday morning, the IDF, Border Police, and Shin Bet security agency said troops arrested a member of the Lion’s Den terror group in the West Bank city of Nablus as local gunmen attempted to target the forces.
Forces from an elite Border Police unit detained Iyad an-Nasser Shbaro, 33, along with four other suspects, and seized two makeshift submachine guns and an explosive device, according to the joint statement.
In all, 22 Palestinians who were arrested in the West Bank over suspected terror activities were taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet security agency.
The incidents came during an Israeli anti-terror offensive, mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 31 people in 2022.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left more than 170 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another nine since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.