In an operation in the West Bank city of Jenin early Thursday morning, Israeli special forces killed a Palestinian terrorist believed behind the murder last week of Israeli rabbi and father-of-six, Raziel Shevach. A second suspect in the murder was arrested, security officials said.
An elite Border Police unit was searching for Shevach’s killers when troops came under fire, leaving two officers injured, police said early Thursday.
“Two officers from the counter terror unit were injured. One seriously and the second lightly, both were taken to hospital for treatment,” according to police.
Information about the Israeli injuries had been held under a gag order until their families were notified.
In the Jenin firefight, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian terrorist, captured another and were still in pursuit of a third, a Border Police spokesman told The Times of Israel.
Hours later, the spokesman said the forces were still scanning the area for the third terrorist and that the operation was still ongoing.
The Palestinian health ministry initially named the dead man as Ahmed Jarrar, 22. Palestinian media said he was the son of a senior Hamas military wing member Nasser Jarrar, who was killed by Israeli forces 16 years ago during the Second Intifada. But the Palestinian health ministry issued a correction midday Thursday, saying Ahmad Ismail Muhammad Jarrar, 31, was the Palestinian killed by Israeli forces overnight in a Jenin firefight.
During the operation, the army said a violent riot broke out in the northern West Bank city. Palestinians hurled IEDs, rocks and fired at the forces, who responded with riot-dispersal measures, including live fire, the army said in a statement.
Palestinian media also reported military bulldozers demolishing a building in the city.
“As part of the operational activities, troops were reinforced, check-posts were placed and searches and arrests were conducted — all in parallel to wide and significant intelligence activity of the Shin Bet and IDF,” the army said.
The terrorists were believed to be members of the cell that gunned down Shevach on January 9 in the northern West Bank.
The Haaretz daily said that there had been a significant development in recent days that led the Shin Bet Security Service to shift the focus of their searches from the Nablus area, where the drive-by shooting occurred, to the Jenin area.
Israeli forces have been carrying out relentless searches for the killers since the January 9 terror attack. The IDF believes the attack was carried out by a cell consisting of at least two terrorists.
In a rare move, the Hamas terrorist group’s military wing had released a statement praising the attack, calling it “heroic” and a sign of future attacks to come, though the organization did not take responsibility for the shooting.
“The attack outside Nablus is the first real response to show the leaders of the enemies and those that are behind them (the United States), that things that you fear — are coming,” Hamas said in a statement earlier this month.
Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on January 9, 35-year-old father of six Shevach was driving in his car on the highway near his home in the Havat Gilad outpost when shots were fired at him from a passing car.
Shevach was shot in the neck, but managed to call his wife and tell her to call an ambulance.
He died of his injuries at a Kfar Saba hospital after receiving initial treatment by medics at the scene of the attack, the Havat Gilad Junction. Medics said he suffered a gunshot wound to his upper body and his condition deteriorated as he was taken to the hospital.