A number of Israeli soldiers and a group of armed Palestinians exchanged fire, Tuesday morning (1/3). The incident, which took place when Israeli troops carried out a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, left two Palestinians dead.
One of those killed in the Jenin camp was identified as a 22-year-old member of the Islamic Jihad group, and he was shot in the head. The other is 18 years old. During the raid, soldiers from a border paramilitary unit surrounded the home of the fugitive who eventually surrendered.
A statement from the Israeli military said several Palestinians opened fire from multiple directions twice during the attack. The Israeli military responded by opening fire in return.
The statement also said that when the Israeli military left Jenin, dozens of people threw firebombs and homemade grenades, triggering more fire from Israel.
The Jenin camp has long been considered a stronghold for pro-Iran armed groups, Islamic Jihad, and the militant group Hamas. Some of the main political leaders of Islamic Jihad are based in Syria and Lebanon, while some of its leading members are based in Gaza. Islamic Jihad is the second largest militant group after Hamas.
The Jenin camp spans an area of about 40% of the West Bank. The camp is under Palestinian rule, but Israeli troops routinely enter the area to make arrests.
The slain 22-year-old Islamic Jihad member Abdullah al-Hossari spent 26 months in an Israeli prison before being released last August. Local media reported that another man killed, 18-year-old Shadi Najem, was unarmed.
The man arrested in the raid was identified as Amad Abu al-Hija, who had previously been imprisoned by Israel. His father was the leader of Hamas’ military wing in Jenin and had been in detention for 20 years. [ab/uh]