Israeli special forces killed two senior terrorists during armed clashes with Palestinians near Jenin on Thursday morning.
The two terrorists were identified as Mohammed Ayman Saadi, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, and Na’im Zubeidi, affiliated with the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization. While these are two separate factions, Jenin has emerged as a leading hub for cross-organizational terrorist collaboration against Israel.
In an official statement, the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet described Saadi as a “prominent PIJ military operative” who had been involved in numerous shooting attacks against Israeli forces. Reports also described Zubeidi as being involved in attacks against Israeli soldiers throughout Judea and Samaria.
Zubeidi is reportedly related to Zakaria Zubeidi, a senior leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades who played a prominent role as a terrorism mastermind during the lethal Second Intifada in the early 2000s. Last September, Zakaria Zubeidi briefly succeeded to escape from a high-security prison in northern Israel before eventually being re-arrested.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, "The two senior terrorists who were thwarted – a field commander in Jenin and a member of the Islamic Jihad; and a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin – planned and carried out attacks on Israeli territory."
Turning to the turbulent arena of domestic Israeli politics, Lapid stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Israeli army by not allowing it to be tarnished by ongoing political disputes.
"Precisely in these stormy times, when irresponsible parties are trying to drag the IDF into an extreme debate and incite soldiers against their commanders, I want to express my appreciation to the security forces," he continued. "This is the way to fight terrorism; this is the way to protect the citizens of Israel."
In addition to eliminating Saadi and Zubeidi, special forces arrested three other terrorists and confiscated several M-16s, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The city of Jenin has a long history of terrorism, which is more recently emboldened by the waning influence of the Palestinian Authority in the area. Local militant factions in the city reacted to Thursday’s IDF operation by declaring a strike and calling for a “general mobilization.”
Tariq Ezz El Din, PIJ spokesman, went so far as to issue threats against the Jewish state.
“The massacre by Israel against our people and our resistance fighters in the Jenin camp at dawn today will not go unnoticed, and this criminal occupier will pay the price for his heinous crime,” El Din stated.
Terror activity against Israel and Jews has increased sharply in recent months in the West Bank, particularly in Samaria in the north. In late November, Israeli security officials warned that the region was on the brink of a dramatic security escalation amid concerns of an imminent collapse of the P.A.
The growing influence of the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas in the West Bank is concerning to the Palestinian Authority as well as Israel.
In late November, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr urged Israel to strengthen the P.A. to prevent it from collapsing.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.