Palestinian teen killed in clashes as IDF nabs terror suspect during raid in Jenin

Israeli officials say Jibril Zubeidi, brother of notorious terror commander Zakaria, detained over involvement in snatching of Druze Israeli teen’s body from hospital in November

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

File: Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on January 26, 2023.  (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
File: Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on January 26, 2023. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

A Palestinian teenager was killed Sunday as Israeli troops clashed with gunmen during a daylight raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin that saw the arrest of a wanted terror suspect, Palestinian health officials and the military said.

In a joint statement with Border Police and Shin Bet security agency, the Israel Defense Forces said Jibril Zubeidi had turned himself over to undercover officers and soldiers who carried out the raid.

Zubeidi was allegedly involved in snatching a the body of a Druze Israeli teenager who was killed in a car crash in November 2022. The remains of Tiran Fero were ultimately returned.

The statement described Zubeidi as a local operative with the mostly dormant Tanzim terror group and said he was involved in attacks on Israeli forces and in planning further attacks.

The IDF said troops returned fire after coming under fire from Palestinian gunmen in Jenin, and also had explosives and rocks hurled toward them by other suspects.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said three were seriously hurt by Israeli gunfire during the clashes, one of whom later succumbed to his wounds.

The ministry identified the slain Palestinian as 14-year-old Qusai Radwan Waked.

The military said it was aware of several armed Palestinians who were hit by the troops’ gunfire.

No Israeli forces were hurt during the raid, officials said.

The military added that troops found ammunition in a car while carrying out searches in the area.

Tanzim, an armed militia founded in 1995 and loosely affiliated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party, was a key player in violent demonstrations at the start of the Second Intifada in 2000.

Zubeidi’s brother Zakaria is notorious for masterminding terror attacks during the Second Intifada. Zakaria Zubeidi, a senior commander in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was released from Israeli prison in a 2007 amnesty deal, but was rearrested a decade later. While still awaiting trial in September 2021, Zubeidi fled Gilboa Prison — along with five other high-risk Palestinian security prisoners — in an escape that transfixed Israelis and Palestinians for weeks. They were all later rearrested.

Daoud Zubeidi, another brother, was killed in clashes with IDF troops in Jenin in May 2022.

Zakaria Zubeidi (C) who escaped out of Israel’s high security Gilboa prison and others, surrounded by prison guards as he arrives for a court hearing in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth, May 22, 2022 (Oren Ziv/POOL)

In a separate incident on Sunday, police said officers detained a Palestinian man near the Israeli town of Ahihud who was suspected of planning a terror attack.

According to law enforcement officials, police were tipped off about the 26-year-old suspect from the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, and began searching the area.

He was found in the nearby Ahihud Forest, and was transferred to the Shin Bet for further questioning.

The Jenin raid came as tensions were high in the region.

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank, early February 12, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and another 10 since the beginning of the year.

Three Israelis, including two brothers aged six and eight, were killed in a car-ramming attack Friday. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said he instructed police to prepare for a major operation in East Jerusalem starting Sunday following the attack, although other government officials said he didn’t have the authority to do so on his own.

The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 43 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

There has also been a rise in revenge attacks by Israelis against Palestinians following the two terror attacks.

Also Saturday night, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel. The projectile was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, the military said.

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