Palestinian Killed in Exchange of Fire With Israeli Army in West Bank, Islamic Jihad Commander Arrested

An elite Israeli military force came under fire while operating in Jenin, according to the Border Police

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Border Police forces in Jenin, on Monday.
Border Police forces in Jenin, on Monday.Credit: Social media

A Palestinian man was killed in an exchange of fire with the Israeli military as forces entered the West Bank city of Jenin to arrest suspects.

Palestinians said that the Israeli force had entered the home of Islamic Jihad commander Bassam al-Saadi and arrested him. Along with al-Saadi, Ashraf Zidan Molmad Aljada was also arrested.

The Palestinian killed in the exchange of fire was 16-year-old Durar Riyad al-Kafarini. According to a statement published by the Palestinian faction in the city, Alkafarini was a member of the "Jenin Brigade" in which many armed members are active. However, people familiar with Alkafarini said while he was pictured holding a gun, many boys his age do so, and it does not necessarily imply that he was involved in the shooting or was even a suspect.

Durar Riyad al-Kafarini was killed Monday night by IDF forces

A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad's military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, said that "all the organization's forces are on high alert and ready to respond following the aggression against Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi and his family in Jenin."

Haaretz learned that Egyptian intelligence officials are holding talks with leaders of the factions in Gaza in order to prevent escalation and shooting from the Strip into Israeli territory following the events in Jenin. A general strike was declared in Jenin, including a trade strike.

Israel's Border Police said that an elite Israeli military unit came under fire while operating in the West Bank city. "The forces retaliated and a number of hits were identified. The operation ended after the suspect was arrested," they added.

The funeral of the Palestinian killed in Jenin, on Monday.

Al-Saadi, 62, is considered as one of Islamic Jihad's top leaders in the West Bank. He had previously been detained by Israel three times and served a total of 15 years in an Israeli jail.

Two of al-Saadi's sons who were members of Islamic Jihad's military wing were killed by Israeli military fire in two separate incidents in 2002, during the second intifada.

Palestinian Authority Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem, added, "The occupation army continues its aggression against the Palestinian people with an emphasis on the city of Jenin, that doesn't come out of one cycle of mourning for one of its citizens before it enters another cycle."

The Shin Bet security service said that al-Saadi recently worked hard "to restore the Islamic Jihad's operations, in which he was instrumental in establishing a strong military force in Samaria in general and in Jenin in particular. His presence played a crucial role in radicalizing the organization's operatives."

The website "Palestine Online", which is affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, published an interview with Bassam al-Saadi on Monday before he was arrested.

In the interview, al-Saadi heavily criticized the continued security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and Israel: "The Palestinian people feel humiliated by the continued security coordination of the PA and its security forces, and the continued persecution of resistance fighters in the Jenin refugee camp and throughout the West Bank."

According to al-Saadi, "The reasons for an intifada to break out are ripe, but they need logistical support and the formation of a united leadership from all parts of the Palestinian people in order to organize and manage it. It is likely that the situation will escalate in the near future," he said.

The Israeli military has conducted near-nightly West Bank operations since a fresh wave of terror attacks, which have left 19 dead, began hitting Israel earlier this year.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says over 30 Palestinians have been killed in the operations, which have focused largely on Jenin and nearby villages.

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