IDF reports fresh clashes with gunmen during arrest raids in Jenin area
Army says no soldiers wounded during operation; several terror suspects arrested and weapons confiscated in latest day of increased military activity
Fresh clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen rocked the West Bank city of Jenin Tuesday.
Jenin residents told AFP that new fighting had broken out after multiple gun battles in recent days.
The Israel Defense Forces said security forces conducted arrests at the night and in the morning throughout the northern West Bank. It said troops came under fire by gunmen, who also detonated bombs against them. Soldiers returned fire. The military said no troops were injured.
It was the fourth day of significant operations around Jenin amid a spate of deadly attacks in Israel, some of whose perpetrators came from the area.
Palestinian official news agency Wafa said “clashes erupted” between young Palestinian men and Israeli soldiers “who fired live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at them.” Israeli forces had arrested four people from Jenin and the nearby village of al-Yamoun, it added.
The military said several terror suspects were arrested and weapons confiscated. It said a man was also arrested in Nablus suspected of vandalizing the Jewish holy site known as Joseph’s Tomb.
Citing Palestinian sources, Channel 12 news reported that a large number of troops were involved in the operation, some of whom entered the home of the terrorist who carried out last week’s deadly shooting in Tel Aviv.
The family of gunman Ra’ad Hazem has two houses in the area — one in the Jenin refugee camp and another in the nearby village.
Israeli security forces have sought to arrest the father and brother of Hazem for their alleged involvement in the attack. Hazem’s father, Fathi, is a former security prisoner who previously served as an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security services in Jenin. He has praised his son for the killings and refused an Israeli summons for questioning.
On Sunday the Israeli military said troops opened fire on a car near Jenin in which two brothers of Hazem, who killed three Israelis in downtown Tel Aviv last week, were believed to be traveling. The IDF said it was aiming to stop the vehicle rather than kill the occupants. The car sped away.
A Palestinian teenager who was shot by the IDF during a raid aimed at capturing members of Hazem’s family died of his injuries Monday.
Tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israeli cities that left 14 people dead. The army has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence.