Palestinian security force kills Islamic Jihad gunman in rare internal clash

PA says patrol in West Bank city of Tulkarm came under fire, shot back; armed group Nour Shams Camp Brigades denounces slaying of Ahmed Abu al-Foul as Israeli-style ‘assassination’

Illustrative: Palestinian security forces  in the West Bank city of Jenin, August 13, 2023. (Nasser Nasser/AP)
Illustrative: Palestinian security forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, August 13, 2023. (Nasser Nasser/AP)

Palestinian security officers killed a gunman in the West Bank on Thursday, a rare intra-Palestinian clash whose circumstances were disputed and that the fighter’s faction described as an Israeli-style “assassination.”

Palestinian Authority security services spokesperson Talak Dweikat said a force sent to patrol Tulkarm overnight came under fire and shot back, hitting the gunman. He died of his wounds in a hospital.

Videos circulated online, and which Reuters was not immediately able to confirm, showed a car being hit by gunfire.

A local armed group, the Tulkarm and Nour Shams Camp Brigades, claimed the dead man, Ahmed Abu al-Foul, as its member with affiliation to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

Al-Foul was “treacherously… targeted in his car” without provocation, the brigades said in a statement. “This crime is just like any assassination by Israeli special forces.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas wields limited self-rule in the West Bank and sometimes coordinates security with Israel.

Parts of the territory have drifted into chaos and poverty, with the PA and Israel trading blame, especially since ties have been further strained by the war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip

Hamas, an Islamic Jihad ally that rules the Gaza Strip and has chafed at Abbas’s strategy of seeking diplomatic accommodation with Israel, denounced “the attacks by the PA’s security forces on our people and our resistance fighters.”

Palestinian security forces and gunmen have exchanged gunfire several times in the last year, but deaths are rare.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the PA in a bloody 2007 coup. The terror group and the PA, which is dominated by Abbas’s Fatah party, have remained at odds ever since.

War erupted on October 7 when Hamas led a devastating cross-border attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Israel retaliated with a military campaign to destroy Hamas, topple its regime in Gaza, and free the 253 hostages who were abducted during the terror attack.

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