Israeli army kills Palestinian militant in West Bank raid

Mateen Dabaya (Shehab News Agency)

Majdi Mohammed

AP  /  October 14, 2022

JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank – The Israeli military shot and killed a Palestinian militant during an arrest raid into a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Friday, according to Palestinian reports. It was the latest bloodshed in what has become the deadliest year in the territory since 2015.

Gun battles between Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants erupted during the incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, a frequent flash point for confrontations, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Six people were wounded, including a doctor at the government hospital who was in critical condition after being shot in the head, the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported. Photos showed smoke billowing from the camp after militants apparently detonated explosives.

The Al-Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian Islamist group that rivals the secular Fatah party, claimed the slain man, Mateen Dabaya, was a field commander.

The Israeli army said it had entered Jenin on Friday to arrest a wanted Hamas militant who had carried out recent attacks against Israeli security forces. Diaa Muhammad Yusef Salama (24) was armed with an M-16 assault rifle as Israeli security forces apprehended him and two other suspects, it added.

The raid set off a gunfight between soldiers and armed Palestinians. The army said it opened fire on the armed men and warned uninvolved residents that they were risking their lives by being in the area.

At one point, a firefight erupted outside the local hospital, witnesses said. The doctor was struck in the head by a bullet as he left the building to tend to a wounded man in the hospital yard, WAFA reported, adding that two paramedics had also been wounded as an ambulance was caught in the crossfire.

Video showed an ambulance trapped in a narrow alley of the camp trying to retrieve a dead body as gunshots rang out and Israeli troops moved to arrest Salama.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2015. The fighting has surged since a series of Palestinian attacks in the spring killed 19 people in Israel.

Israel says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

Israel says the raids are needed to dismantle militant networks at a time when Palestinian security forces are unable or unwilling to do so.

The Palestinians say the raids undermine their security forces and are aimed at cementing Israel’s open-ended 55-year-old occupation of lands they want for their hoped-for state. Hundreds of Palestinians have been rounded up in such raids, with many placed in so-called administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold them without trial or charge.

The tensions spilled over into East Jerusalem this week, as Israeli police fired live rounds, tear gas and stun grenades on Palestinians throwing stones and fireworks across several neighbourhoods in the contested city. Two Israelis were hurt in the confrontations, Israeli police said on Friday, adding that security forces arrested 18 suspects on charges of disturbing public order.

The police said they scaled up their presence at flashpoint areas across the city.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 June War, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.