Palestinian teen killed during IDF raid near Jericho; terror suspect detained

Military says troops return fire at gunmen, rioters in West Bank refugee camp of Aqabat Jabr; operation comes hours after 2 soldiers hurt in Nablus

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

15-year-old Muhammad Fayez Bilhan (left) killed during an IDF raid in the West Bank refugee camp of Aqabat Jabr, April 10, 2023. (Social media; Israel Defense Forces)
15-year-old Muhammad Fayez Bilhan (left) killed during an IDF raid in the West Bank refugee camp of Aqabat Jabr, April 10, 2023. (Social media; Israel Defense Forces)

A Palestinian teenager was killed during an Israeli military raid in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near the West Bank city of Jericho on Monday morning, Palestinian health officials said.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry announced the teen’s death, with the official Wafa news agency naming him as 15-year-old Muhammad Fayez Bilhan.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops of the elite Duvdevan unit and the light infantry Lions of the Valley Battalion operated in the camp to detain a wanted man suspected of involvement in terror activities.

The IDF said that during the operation “violent riots developed at several locations.”

“As the troops left, suspects hurled explosive devices and Molotov cocktails and opened fire at them,” the IDF said, adding that troops returned fire using live ammunition and low-caliber rounds from a Ruger rifle.

Palestinian media reports said several others were wounded during the operation in Aqabat Jabr.

The raid came hours after an Israeli soldier and officer were lightly hurt after coming under fire in the northern West Bank city of Nablus during an overnight counterterrorism operation.

According to the IDF, after troops arrested one wanted Palestinian, gunmen opened fire at forces as they were exiting the city, hitting two military vehicles. An IDF soldier and officer were hurt by shrapnel and taken to a hospital in Israel, where they were listed in good condition, the military said.

Troops meanwhile were still searching for the Palestinian terrorists who carried out a deadly shooting attack in the Jordan Valley on Friday, and they were thought to be hiding in the northern West Bank.

The car apparently used by the terrorists who killed Israeli-British sisters 20-year-old Maia Dee and 15-year-old Rina Dee, and critically wounded their mother, 48-year-old Lucy Dee, was found on Sunday by Palestinian Authority security forces in Nablus.

Locals in Nablus claimed the Volkswagen Passat, which has Israeli license plates, was found in the northern West Bank city two days after the deadly shooting attack. The unverified reports said the car was taken by PA officials for inspection.

Images showed the plates match the car seen in surveillance camera footage shortly after the attack.

This combo image shows a car allegedly used by Palestinian terrorists in a deadly attack in the West Bank, following the attack on April 7, 2023 (left), and after it was found in Nablus on April 9, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The raids on Monday came as tensions have soared across the region in recent days, with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night; a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday; tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week; clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank; and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

At least 90 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 18 people dead since the beginning of the year.

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