ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Palestinian teen killed, six others hurt during IDF raid near Jericho

Military says troops clash with gunmen in Aqabat Jabr refugee camp during arrest operation; clashes come after days of restrictions on movement amid terror warnings

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

Israeli military vehciles are seen in the West Bank city of Jericho, May 1, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Israeli military vehciles are seen in the West Bank city of Jericho, May 1, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

A Palestinian teenager affiliated with the Hamas terror group 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 said 17-year-old Muhammad Kamal al-Lada’a was fatally shot in the head and six others were wounded amid clashes with Israeli soldiers, including three listed in serious condition. Another man was reported to have been shot in Bethlehem.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops had entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp to arrest two wanted Palestinians.

Amid the raid “there was an exchange of fire between armed men and our forces,” the IDF said, adding that several suspects were hit by troops’ gunfire.

The IDF said troops seized two makeshift submachine guns in the camp, including one used by a Palestinian gunman who was shot after opening fire.

The Gaza Strip-based Hamas later claimed al-Lada’a as a “fighter” and a member of the terror group.

Footage published by Palestinian media showed a convoy of military vehicles entering the camp.

Two makeshift ‘Carlo’ submachine guns seized by IDF troops in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near the West Bank city of Jericho, May 1, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The raid came amid a rise in intelligence alerts of potential terror attacks by Palestinians in the Jericho area. Over the past week and a half, the IDF has imposed heavy restrictions on movement in and out of the West Bank city amid those concerns.

In recent months, several Palestinians set out from Jericho and the surrounding area to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.

The city and the adjacent Aqabat Jabr refugee camp are part of Area A of the West Bank — officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, though the Israeli military conducts activities there.

Recent months have seen deadly clashes in Aqabat Jabr. Among the casualties were a 20-year-old Palestinian who was shot dead after fleeing from Israeli troops on April 24, and a 15-year-old Palestinian who allegedly hurled Molotov cocktails at IDF forces.

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

In separate overnight raids in other areas of the West Bank, the IDF said troops detained 15 wanted Palestinians.

The military said troops also seized an M-16 firearm and other military equipment in Bethlehem. The IDF did not report any clashes in Bethlehem, but the PA Health Ministry said a 20-year-old was shot in the chest with an expanding bullet —  a particularly lethal type of round — and was listed in critical condition.

At least 96 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 19 people dead since the beginning of the year and several more seriously hurt.

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