Two Palestinians including 'militant leader' killed by Israeli forces in Jenin

Israeli army says it arrested three people suspected of terrorist activities

A Palestinian boy with a toy gun in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, where real guns are causing strife. AFP
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Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead two Palestinians, including at least one militant leader, during a West Bank arrest raid that sparked gun battles, according to Palestinian officials and Israel's army.

Muhammad Ayman Al Saadi, 26, and Naim Jamal Zubaidi, 27, were "killed by the Israeli occupation bullets at dawn today during its aggression on Jenin camp", a Palestinian health ministry statement said.

Al Saadi was a leader of Islamic Jihad, sources in Jenin familiar with the Palestinian militant group told AFP.

The army said it had entered the town of Wadi Bruqin and apprehended "three wanted individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities".

"During the operation, armed suspects shot at the security forces, who responded with live fire," it said.

The army called Al Saadi "a high-ranking operative in the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation" and confirmed his death.

Israel's outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the raids as "a direct continuation of our uncompromising policy on the fight against terrorism".

He said "two senior terrorists ... were thwarted", including an Islamic Jihad leader and "a senior member of the Al Aqsa (Martyrs) Brigade", the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

Jenin is a stronghold of militant factions in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

In pictures - rising violence in the West Bank

Last week, fighters from Jenin snatched the body of an Israeli Druze teenager from a West Bank hospital, where he had been admitted after a car crash.

His body was returned to relatives days later after intense negotiations aimed at avoiding a major escalation of violence.

Israeli forces have made more than 3,000 arrests across the territory in recent months, the army said this week, after a series of deadly attacks against Israelis.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed so far this year in the West Bank, Israel and the contested city of Jerusalem, the heaviest toll in seven years, according to the UN.

On Tuesday, five Palestinians were shot dead in the West Bank, Palestinian authorities said.

Four separate incidents involving deaths were reported, one near the village of Beit Ummar, near the West Bank city of Hebron, and two near Ramallah, in the villages of Kafr Ein and Al Mughayir.

The military says the arrest raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but the Palestinians say they entrench Israel’s open-ended occupation and undermine their own security forces.

The raids have increased tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, triggering another wave of Palestinian attacks in recent weeks that have killed an additional eight people.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians want those territories for their intended future state.

Substantive peace talks were last held more than a decade ago and with Israel poised to establish what is likely to be its most right-wing government to date, there appears little prospect for a negotiated solution in the near future.

Updated: December 01, 2022, 9:42 AM