Israeli Military Officer, Two Palestinians Killed in Clash at West Bank Checkpoint

The two militants began firing towards soldiers north of Jenin, who responded by firing back and hitting both of them, according to the army

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The Jalameh checkpoint, north of Jenin, on Wednesday morning.
The Jalameh checkpoint, north of Jenin, on Wednesday morning.Credit: Amir Levy

An Israeli army officer was shot and killed on Tuesday night during an exchange of gunfire with Palestinian militants, according to the military. The two militants, one of which worked in the Palestinian security services, were also killed. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades has taken responsibility for the shooting.

The incident occurred near the Jalameh checkpoint, a few miles north of Jenin. After the two militants were seen approaching the checkpoint, soldiers were dispatched to the area. The militants began firing towards the soldiers, who fired back and struck both of them.

>> Officials: U.S., Europe concerned, but accept Israel's stance on West Bank flare-up

Palestinian sources say the two militants were killed during the clash with the army, and identified as 23-year-old Ahmed Iman Abed and Abdelrahman Abed, both residents of Kafr Dan – a small village northwest of Jenin. According to Palestinian sources, Ahmed served in the Palestinian security services' intelligence branch and was a graduate of the Palestinian Authority's police academy.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces published the name of the officer killed in the incident – Major Bar Falah, a 30-year-old resident of Netanya. The army added that Falah was deputy commander of the Nahal Brigade's Special Reconnaissance Unit.

Major Bar Falah, the officer killed during the clash near Jenin.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

"Unfortunately, last night we lost an officer who fought Palestinian terrorists in the field," said IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, adding that the incident is another example of the many challenges the army faces. "I wish to convey my condolences to his family and friends", he said.

"There are no words to console Maj. Falah's family, his partner and his friends. He was a warrior who led his soldiers until his very last second," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said following the announcement of the officer's death.

In a separate statement from Wednesday, Lapid referred to the fact that one of the attackers was an intelligence officer for the Palestinian Authority as an "escalation."

"Wherever the Palestinian Authority does not maintain order, we will not hesitate to act. The IDF and Shin Bet are prepared for any scenario," Lapid said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also sent his condolences following the incident, adding that Israel's security forces "will continue to operate in the West Bank and every other place terrorism rears its head."

According to Brig. Gen. Avi Bluth, Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, the incident began at 11:31 PM on Tuesday, when the army observed two suspects near the barrier fence, close to the Jalameh crossing. At this point, the army did not know that the two suspects were armed. They made their way towards the fence and laid down some 15 meters from it.

The two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces at Jalameh checkpoint, north of Jenin, Wednesday. Ahmed Abed (left) and Abdelrahman Abed (right)

The army ultimately sent a large number of soldiers to the area, and some of them entered Palestinian territory in order to encircle the suspects. The exchange of gunfire occurred at around 2:00 AM when the soldiers were only a few meters from the suspects. The militants used a Carlo submachine gun.

An Israeli officer was shot and killed during the initial exchange of gunfire, and additional IDF forces shot and killed the two militants. The army also claimed that one of the suspects worked for the Palestinian Authority's intelligence services.

The Jalameh crossing, overnight.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad applauded the attack, calling it "a message to the occupation forces in Israel."

The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades took responsibility for the attack, saying both the shooters are members of the terrorist organization.

In the last few hours, officials from various Israeli security agencies discussed the possible responses to the shooting incident. The Shin Bet suggested blocking work permits to Palestinian workers from the assailants' hometowns, as well as establishing temporary checkpoints around these locations. Israel has imposed similar sanctions following attacks in the past in order to deter attacks from the local population.

Over the past several weeks, Israel has focused its efforts on calming the security situation in the northern West Bank by putting pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli officials lay the blame on President Abbas for the deteriorating situation in the West Bank. "The problem is with [Palestinian] leadership," an Israeli official told Haaretz last week, citing the Palestinian Authority's inability to stop attacks over the past few months.

An IDF soldiers stands near the barrier fence, near Jenin, on Wednesday morning.Credit: Amir Levy

Specifically, Israel has mentioned two Palestinian cities in the northern part of the West Bank - Jenin and Nablus - that have emerged as recent hotspots for tensions, as evidenced by the incident this morning.

As of earlier this week, 81 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank in 2022, making it the deadliest year since 2015 – in which 99 were killed.

Seventy-eight of the 81 were shot by Israeli security forces, three were killed by Israeli civilians, and one more whom the Palestinians say was shot by Israeli forces despite IDF claims that he was likely killed by armed Palestinians.

About 31 of the Palestinians who died in the past year were killed in the Jenin region, where Israeli forces have been conducting nightly raids since the wave of terror attacks by Palestinians in Israel began in late March.

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