Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in Jenin ambush

An Israeli soldier takes aim amid confrontations with Palestinian protesters in Hebron-Al-Khalil (Mussa Qawasma - Reuters)

Shatha Hammad

Middle East Eye  /  April 2, 2022

Eyewitnesses tell Middle East Eye that Israeli special forces in a van blocked a vehicle carrying the men and started firing.

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians before dawn on Saturday during an ambush in Jenin city, in the north of the occupied West Bank.

A white bus blocked a vehicle carrying the three men at 2am local time near the junction of Arraba village, southwest of Jenin, and close to the Dotan Israeli checkpoint, an eyewitness told MEE.

Israeli special forces then came out of the bus and started firing at the three men, the eyewitness, who preferred not to be named, said.

The three men were Saeb Abahra, 30, Khalil Tawalbeh, 24, and Saif Abu Libda, 25.

All three were members of al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

Their bodies were withheld by the army after the operation, which lasted for about an hour.

Israeli security forces claimed the Palestinians opened fire at them when they attempted to arrest them, which prompted a gunfight.

​​Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, and one is in a critical condition.

Immediately after the firing started, large Israeli army reinforcements arrived at the scene, according to the eyewitness.

He added that he saw a lot of blood on the windshield and inside the car, which was confiscated by the army.

He also added that Israeli soldiers did not provide medical aid to the three men.

The Palestinian Red Crescent also said the army prevented its ambulances from approaching the location of the incident.

A second witness from the nearby village of Araba told MEE that he heard heavy gunfire in the area, so he and a group of villagers went to the scene, and found dozens of Israeli soldiers there using civilian vehicles.

He added that the soldiers did not allow them to advance, and fired bullets at the residents, directing lasers at them to prevent them from approaching.

Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, denounced the operation as a show of force by the Israeli army, which, he said, committed two crimes: assassinating the three Palestinians, then denying them medical aid.

“Where is the International Red Cross and where are the international human rights institutions working in Palestine regarding the crimes committed by the occupation army against us,” Adnan told MEE.

“The Israeli political level will pay the price for the blood of the Palestinian martyrs,” he added.

The al-Quds Brigades said in a statement that they “mourn the death of our three hero fighters,” adding that two of them were from Jenin and one from Tulkarem.

Late on Friday, Palestinian fighters staged a military parade in Jenin Refugee camp to mark the 20th anniversary of the Israeli army operation in the camp during the second Intifada, which became an important symbol of Israel’s oppression and Palestinian resistance.

Since last year, Jenin has witnessed a resurgence of armed resistance. Israel and the Palestine Authority (PA) have been trying for months to arrest 25 to 30 suspects known to them.

On Thursday, Israeli troops raided Jenin in an attempt to make some arrests but were pushed back by Palestinian fighters.

Two Palestinian civilians protesting the raid were shot and killed by Israeli troops.

The killings on Saturday come as Israel raises its level of alert to the highest it has been since May last year following three recent attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

They also come on the first day of Ramadan, a month which many fear will see further strife, amid plans by Israeli settlers to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Shatha Hammad is a Palestinian freelance journalist


Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces in occupied West Bank

Al-Jazeera  /  April 1, 2022

A 28-year-old Palestinian was shot in the head during confrontations with Israeli forces in Hebron/Al-Khalil.

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man during confrontations in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

The 28-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed “with live ammunition”, the Palestinian health ministry said in a brief statement on Friday. The Palestinian Wafa news agency identified the man as Ahmad al-Atrash – who spent six years in Israeli detention as a political prisoner.

The head of the Hebron governmental hospital was quoted by Ma’an news agency as saying al-Atrash succumbed to his wounds shortly after arriving at the facility.

Al-Atrash “arrived at the emergency department in very critical condition”, Ma’an reported, adding an initial examination indicated he was shot directly in the head with a live round.

Confrontations erupted in the centre of Hebron between Palestinians and armed Israeli forces, which fired live rounds and tear gas towards a crowd of young men, according to Ma’an.

Dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation and were treated at the scene, local media reported.

Hebron, the biggest city in the West Bank, is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians. About 1,000 Jewish settlers live there in illegal settlements under heavy Israeli military protection.

While settler attacks on Palestinians and their property is a regular occurrence across the West Bank, the situation in Hebron’s old city is particularly volatile.

Palestinians injured across West Bank

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent said it also treated 70 people wounded in confrontations with the Israeli army on Friday in the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

A young man was shot in the “hand and foot” by Israeli forces during a march in Bilin, a small village of about 1,700 inhabitants east of the West Bank city of Ramallah, in commemoration of Land Day.

Palestinians commemorate Land Day annually, dating back to March 30, 1976, when six unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during protests against the Israeli government’s decision to expropriate large tracts of Palestinian-owned land.

Israeli forces targeted protesters with live rounds, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs, which led to the man’s injury as well as dozens of cases of tear gas inhalation, local media reported.

At Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, authorities said more than 30,000 people attended Friday prayers on the eve of Ramadan, which begins this weekend.

There were no reports of protests or violence.

Last year protests and clashes in Jerusalem during Ramadan ignited an 11-day Gaza war and Jewish-Arab violence in Israel’s mixed cities.

On Thursday, the Israeli army raided the West Bank city of Jenin, and earlier in the week raided the homes of two other Palestinians.

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in the West Bank, including one suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack near the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion south of Bethlehem city.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and has established dozens of illegal Jewish settlements where nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers reside.

The Palestinian leadership wants the West Bank as part of a future state and views the illegal settlements as a major obstacle to resolving the conflict.