Israeli Army Chief: Palestinian Gunmen Killed Overnight Were Planning Attack

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Palestinians burning tires in West Bank city of Burkin, yesterday.
Palestinians burning tires in West Bank city of Burkin, yesterday.Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Sunday that the IDF operation in the West Bank foiled plans for "significant" terror attacks in Israel. Five Palestinian gunmen were killed during the operation in several West Bank cities. An officer and a soldier from the Israeli elite Duvdevan military unit were also seriously injured

Kochavi explained that the operation was part of "an ongoing campaign against Hamas military infrastructure." 

Regarding the injuries on the Israeli side, the initial assessment suggests the officer and a soldier were hit by friendly fire. The chief of staff said that possibility is being examined, adding that several Palestinians were wounded in the clashes and that their weapons.

According to IDF estimates, this is a network that Hamas tried to establish in recent years, designed to carry out attacks in the West Bank. The fact that the militia squad was dispersed in several areas, including the cities of Ramallah and Jenin, indicates to the defense establishment that Hamas has the capacity to restore its capabilities.

The defense establishment is also considering the possibility that the cell was activated by Hamas' leadership abroad.

Two Palestinians were killed in an exchange of fire during the attempted arrest of a suspect in a building in Burkin in the northern West Bank. The other three casualties were shot dead in the village of Bidu, near Ramallah.

IDF spokesman Ran Kochav said Sunday that they were Hamas members, and that they fired at Police Special Anti-Terror Unit forces who tried to arrest them. The IDF added that they confronted them during the execution of a planned terrorist attack. The bodies of the three killed in Bidu remain in Israeli custody, and one, Osama Sabah, was buried shortly after his death.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the operation was targeting "Hamas terrorists who were about to carry out immediate attacks." He added that "the forces acted as expected of them, made contact, and we fully back them up."

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