A wanted Palestinian gunman behind a series of shooting attacks in the West Bank was shot dead on Thursday morning during a raid by Israeli forces near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, police said.
According to a Border Police spokesman, undercover officers entered the town of ‘Izbat Shufa, on the outskirts of Tulkarem, to arrest Amir Khadijah, 25, after receiving intelligence about his whereabouts from the Shin Bet security agency.
Police said that when forces arrived at a hideout apartment where Khadijah was holed up, the suspect opened fire at the officers, who shot back, wounding him.
The officers then broke into the apartment, and Khadijah again opened fire at the Israeli forces, police said. The officers shot back and killed the suspect, the spokesman said.
No officers were hurt during the raid.
Khadijah was accused of carrying out several shooting attacks against Israeli settlements near Tulkarem and against Israeli forces at the nearby Te’enim Checkpoint.
الشهيد | أمير عماد أبو خديجة
العُمــــر | 25 عامًا
التاريخ | 23 – 03 – 2023
المكــان | خربة شوفة – مدينة طولكرم
— شهداء فلسطين (@Pal_Shaheed) March 23, 2023
Some Palestinian media reports identified Khadijah as the commander of the so-called Tulkarem Battalion, an armed group operating in the city.
Videos circulating on social media purported to show Khadijah shooting at Israeli forces during a previous clash several months ago.
فيديو سابق من اشتباك الشهيد أمير أبو خديجة قائد كتيبة طولكرم مع قوات الاحتلال. pic.twitter.com/9MwZHVg6Z5
— الحج مش هيك (@MshHyk2) March 23, 2023
A Palestinian man suspected of aiding Khadijah was also detained at the scene after turning himself in to the forces. He was to be taken for questioning by the Shin Bet.
Police said Khadijah’s M16 assault rifle was seized and his car was impounded.
Several hours after the raid, an Israeli truck driver came under fire while passing by the nearby Palestinian town of Shufa, the Israel Defense Forces said.
According to the Rescuers Without Borders emergency service, the man was unharmed. He reached the nearby settlement of Avnei Hefetz, where forces identified several bullet holes on his truck. The IDF said it had launched a manhunt for the suspects.
Overnight, an Israeli motorist and an army post were targeted in separate shooting attacks in the West Bank, the IDF said.
In the first incident, an Israeli civilian driving near Adam Junction, close to the settlement of Geva, came under fire. Several bullets struck the car, but the driver was unharmed.
The IDF said troops began a manhunt for the suspects in the attack.
In the second incident overnight, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at an IDF post near the northern West Bank town of Yabed, outside Jenin.
The IDF said no soldiers were hurt in the attack.
Over the past year, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
Tensions have soared in the West Bank, with the IDF carrying out near-nightly raids amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
In separate arrest raids early Thursday, the IDF said troops detained eight Palestinians suspected of involvement in terror activities.
Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 people dead — almost all of them Israelis — and several more seriously hurt.
At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.