The Israel Defense Forces carried out two “brigade-level” raids in the northern West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp and Balata refugee camp near Nablus overnight Saturday, detaining suspects and seizing weapons.
In all, 38 wanted Palestinians were arrested in the raids, including some 20 in Jenin and Balata, the IDF said Sunday morning, adding that troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen in both camps.
According to Palestinian media, one Palestinian was killed in Jenin, and a second in Dheisheh, a refugee camp near Bethlehem.
In Balata, troops seized several firearms and explosive devices, and in Jenin they found and destroyed a cache of explosive devices near a mosque, and three command rooms, and seized several firearms.
Troops also clashed with Palestinian rioters in the West Bank village of Tamun, near Tubas, and in Dheisheh.
Since Hamas’s devastating attack on Israel on October 7, sparking war, the IDF says troops have arrested some 1,800 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,100 affiliated with Hamas. According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, some 200 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in some cases settlers, since the war erupted.
Tensions in the West Bank have been high since Hamas’s murderous rampage through Israeli communities on October 7, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.
In response, Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip with the aim of dismantling the Hamas terror group and its infrastructure, and freeing the hostages.
The overnight raids came a day after IDF soldiers killed a number of terrorists in the West Bank who were planning “imminent” attacks on Israeli civilians and troops. An IDF and Shin Bet joint statement said forces and aircraft struck a hideout apartment in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus in that raid.
According to Army Radio, while the military has on occasion used fighter jets to carry out strikes in other sites in the West Bank, the overnight operation was the first time a plane has hit a target in Nablus since the Second Intifada.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said five Palestinians were killed. The Haaretz newspaper reported that four of those killed were affiliated with Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, citing “hospital testimonies.”
Those killed included Muhammad Zahad, described by the Israeli security services as a “senior terrorist” in Nablus who was involved in a number of shooting attacks, including an April attack in which two Israelis were injured in Jerusalem.