IDF kills Palestinian bomb-maker in Jenin raid

Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Thursday, killing a Palestinian bomb-maker and uncovering a cache of explosives, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The operation was part of a crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in the area, who have been behind several recent attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

According to the IDF, the forces entered the camp to arrest Jamal Abu al-Hija, a senior Hamas operative who was responsible for manufacturing and planting explosive devices. Al-Hija was armed and opened fire at the troops, who returned fire and killed him. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the exchange.

During the raid, the forces also discovered a large amount of explosives, including pipe bombs, grenades, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The IDF said the explosives were intended to be used in future attacks against Israel. The forces detonated the explosives in a controlled manner, causing several loud blasts that were heard throughout the camp.

IDF kills Palestinian bomb-maker in Jenin raid
IDF kills Palestinian bomb-maker in Jenin raid

Palestinians clash with Israeli troops during the raid

The raid sparked violent clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli troops, who were backed by armored vehicles and helicopters. The Palestinians threw stones, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at the soldiers, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that one Palestinian was killed and at least 15 others were wounded in the clashes. The ministry identified the slain Palestinian as Mohammed Omar Abu al-Hija, 17, the son of Jamal Abu al-Hija. The ministry said he was shot in the chest by Israeli fire.

The ministry also said that among the injured were two journalists who were covering the raid. One of them was hit by a rubber bullet in the head, and the other was hit by shrapnel in the leg.

Jenin refugee camp is a hotspot of Palestinian resistance

The Jenin refugee camp is home to about 15,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The camp has been a stronghold of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation for decades, and has witnessed several deadly confrontations between militants and Israeli forces.

In 2002, during the second intifada, or uprising, Israel launched a massive military operation in the camp, known as Operation Defensive Shield, to root out militants who had carried out suicide bombings and other attacks. The operation resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, and sparked international outrage over allegations of human rights violations by Israel.

In recent months, Jenin has seen a resurgence of violence amid rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. In June 2023, five Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded in an IDF raid on the camp, which involved helicopter gunships for the first time in years. In July 2023, six Palestinians were killed and more than 100 injured in another IDF incursion into the camp.

The IDF says it is acting to prevent terrorist attacks from Jenin and other parts of the West Bank, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad have increased their presence and influence. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the West Bank under interim peace agreements with Israel, has accused Israel of undermining its authority and security coordination by conducting unilateral raids that endanger civilians.

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