Israeli troops raid town of Palestinian gunman who killed three in Tel Aviv

A molotov cocktail is thrown at an Israeli military vehicle during clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin (Jaafar Ashtiyeh - AFP)

AP  /  April 9, 2022

Gun battle in occupied West Bank leaves at least one Palestinian militant dead, according to Israeli and Palestinian accounts.

Israeli troops on Saturday raided the home town of a Palestinian who carried out a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv, causing a gun battle in the occupied West Bank that left at least one Palestinian militant dead, according to Israeli and Palestinian accounts.

The arrest raid was the latest in a series of events that have escalated tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Clashes and protests in Jerusalem last year helped spark an 11-day war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

In Saturday’s raid, the Israeli military said it conducted what it described as a counter-terrorism operation in and around the city of Jenin – the area in the northern West Bank where the gunman in Thursday’s attack had lived.

It said troops were surveying the attacker’s home “to examine the potential demolition of the house”. Israel often demolishes the homes of Palestinian attackers in a practice that it says deters future attackers but which critics dismiss as collective punishment.

The army said it also conducted an arrest operation on people suspected of militant activity.

During the raids, it said soldiers came under fire. Troops fired back, killing one militant. The Islamic Jihad militant group identified the man as a member.

The army said a second gunman was shot and wounded and taken away for medical treatment. It said the man’s weapon was confiscated.

Jenin is considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants. Israeli forces often come under fire when operating in the area. Even the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates with Israel on security matters, appears to have little control.

In Thursday’s shooting, a Palestinian gunman opened fire in central Tel Aviv, killing three people. The attacker, identified as Ra’ad Hazem, 28, of Jenin, was later killed by Israeli forces.

Israel has taken some steps to ease tensions, including the granting of thousands of work permits to residents of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers on Friday.