Two Palestinians shot dead amid clashes with Israeli forces near Jenin

Troops detain Muhammad Alawneh in Qabatiya, wanted over alleged planned terror attacks; local wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims to open fire at soldiers

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

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during an army operation in the West Bank city of Nablus, January 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during an army operation in the West Bank city of Nablus, January 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

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.

A second Palestinian, 18-year-old Abdul Hadi Fakhri Youssef Nazzal, died several hours after being critically hurt in the clashes, the ministry said.

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.

An assault rifle seized from a Palestinian man during a raid in the West Bank city of Qabatiya, January 12, 2023. (Israel Police)

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.

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early January 12, 2023. (Israel Defense 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.

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