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IDF operation turns into gun battle as Jenin terrorists attack arresting officers

Nine Palestinians were killed, according to reports

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on Jan. 26, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

A joint operation of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli Security Agency “Shin Bet” and the Israel Police to arrest terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp turned into a gun battle on Thursday morning when the wanted men opened fire on the security forces. 

“The wanted men, PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] operatives, have been involved in recent, extensive terror activity and are suspected of carrying out several shooting attacks against IDF forces and planning other significant attacks,” an IDF spokesperson said. 

According to the IDF, when the troops entered the refugee camp “during an attempt to arrest them, the wanted men opened fire and were killed in an exchange of fire with our forces.” 

A fourth member of the local PIJ wing surrendered himself to Israeli forces and was taken in for questioning. Following his arrest, dozens of armed rioters gathered near the site of the operation. 

According to the IDF, Israeli forces returned fire after being attacked by snipers and militants on the ground. In the exchange of fire, more Palestinians were killed. 

“The number of Palestinians killed is related to the level of threat to our forces and not to the policy of ‘kill as much as possible.’ They shot only those who endangered the fighters. The price on the other side could have been much higher,” said the IDF spokesperson

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry stated that nine Palestinians died in the fighting, including a 60-year-old woman identified as Magda Obaid. The IDF said it is investigating her death. 

Israeli news site, N12, reported that, following the gun battle in Jenin, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups convened an “emergency meeting” in Gaza. 

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’ Politburo, also issued an open threat against Israel.

“The occupation will pay the price for the massacre in Jenin and the refugee camp. The response of the resistance will not be late in arriving,” al-Arouri said. 

A spokesperson for P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas also called the arrest operation a “massacre.” He said, "Israel is carrying out a massacre in the Jenin camp, while the world is silent." 

The IDF told Israeli media that the state is preparing for any retaliation.

“We are prepared for any scenario now. We will strengthen the forces and reinforce them to the maximum as a result,” the officer said. 

Clips on social media showed Palestinian gunmen shooting down an Israeli surveillance drone during the operation. 

The IDF has conducted repeated raids in Jenin over the last year, as it attempts to foil suspected attacks, mostly from PIJ groups. 

The IDF spokesperson, nevertheless, said that Israel had given P.A. security forces advance notice about Thursday morning’s arrests, advising them to stay in their headquarters. 

In 2022, 171 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces. This morning’s operation brings the total number of Palestinians killed in fighting with IDF forces to 29. Most of those killed were armed militants, while a few were unarmed civilians. 

The IDF investigates every report of civilian deaths that occurs during its operations. 

There were no reported Israeli casualties or injuries during the 3-hour operation. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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