Video shows IDF under attack during Jenin arrest

Footage appears to support soldiers’ claim that they were fired upon in incident that left a Palestinian demonstrator dead

IDF soldier describes pre-dawn gunfight in Jenin, West Bank, on Tuesday (photo credit: screenshot from YouTube)
IDF soldier describes pre-dawn gunfight in Jenin, West Bank, on Tuesday (photo credit: screenshot from YouTube)

The IDF published footage Tuesday of an alleged Palestinian terrorist’s arrest, which took place in the West Bank city of Jenin before dawn and resulted in the death of a 22-year-old demonstrator. The grainy video appears to show bullets being fired at the Israeli soldiers prior to the shooting of Muhammad Anis, providing support to the IDF’s claim that the soldiers were threatened and, consequently, returned fire.

The gunfire that killed Anis is not seen in the video, which was shot by an IDF spokesperson combat soldier who took part in the operation. Two IDF soldiers were lightly injured in the incident.

According to reports, the incident occurred while the IDF Nahal Haredi unit and the Border Police were on a mission to detain alleged terrorists, including one specific suspect.

Palestinian sources identified the target suspect as Bassam Saadi, an Islamic Jihad activist.

Witnesses said crowds of Palestinians spontaneously gathered to protest the arrest operation.

“During the activity, shots were fired at the forces and improvised explosive devices and rocks were hurled at the security personnel, injuring two soldiers,” a military spokeswoman told AFP. The troops were reportedly ordered to respond by firing at the legs of the demonstrators.

“It was a battle with combatants who fired at us from corners and rooftops,” the Nahal Haredi unit commander said. “We returned fire and they have one dead.”

According Palestinian witnesses at the scene, a gunman opened fire at IDF soldiers from within a group of Palestinian youth who were throwing rocks. The soldiers fired at the crowed and hit one of the stone throwers, not the shooter, witnesses said.

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Two other Palestinians were injured and brought to nearby hospitals. The suspect for whom the IDF was searching was apprehended and was undergoing interrogation, military sources said.

“This was a massive disturbance of public order,” an Israeli military official told the NRG website. “This is something unusual — we’re familiar with disturbances of the public during arrests. But this was very different from what we’re used to.”

An IDF spokesperson said that the military is conducting an investigation into the incident.

Also on Tuesday, IDF forces fired at two Palestinians who were nearing the border fence near Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip. According to reports, soldiers warned the men from proceeding toward the fence and fired warning shots into the air before firing at the men, and injuring one. The men then retreated, said IDF officials. Palestinian sources reported that both men were injured in the incident.

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