Palestinian teacher among two killed by Israeli forces in Jenin raid

Jawad Bawatqah and Adham Jabbarin (Twitter)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  / January 19, 2023

Jawad Farid Bawaqta (57) was reportedly giving first aid to another wounded Palestinian when he was shot in the chest.

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in overnight raids on Thursday in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Jawad Farid Bawaqta (57), a high school teacher and father of six children, was shot in the chest, and Adham Mohammad Jabarin (28), was shot in the torso, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Both men were from the Jenin refugee camp.

Palestinian media said Jabarin was a senior member of the Jenin Brigade, an armed group made up mainly of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) members.

Eyewitnesses said a sniper shot Bawaqta outside his home while he was providing first aid to Jabarin after he was wounded. The sports teacher and youth leader was not reported as being a member of any armed group.

The Israeli army said its forces returned fire after coming under heavy fire during the arrest raid on Jenin refugee camp. One soldier was lightly wounded and was taken to hospital for treatment, it added. 

Palestinian media said snipers were deployed on rooftops, and heavy exchanges of gunfire were reported.

The official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, said three other Palestinians were wounded during the raid, and four were detained, including two siblings. Some reports said one of the detainees is a senior PIJ member.  

WAFA added that Israeli forces blocked ambulances from entering Jenin, forcing local residents to transport the casualties to hospital by private cars.

Nightly raids

The latest killings bring the number of Palestinians killed this year to 17, including four children.

The Israeli military conducts near-nightly arrest raids, which often turn deadly. 

Omar Lotfi Khumour, a 14-year-old boy, was killed on Monday in Bethlehem, the youngest victim this year.

At least 167 people were killed last year in the occupied West Bank, the highest death toll since the Second Intifada. 

Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin in recent months, which are home to a growing number of Palestinian fighters.

In March 2022, Israel launched the Break the Wave military campaign, focused on crushing armed Palestinian resistance, which has seen a revival in the West Bank.

According to figures provided by the Israeli army, there have been at least 285 shootings at Israeli targets – mainly army posts and checkpoints – by Palestinians in 2022, compared with 61 in 2021, 31 in 2020 and 19 in 2019.

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Teacher among two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jenin

Zena al-Tahhan

Al-Jazeera  /  January 19, 2023

The latest deaths take the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in January to 17.

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – The Israeli army has shot dead two Palestinian men during a raid on Jenin, bringing the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in January to 17.

Jawad Fareed Bawaqneh, a 57-year-old father of six and teacher at a local school, was killed on Thursday morning in the Jenin refugee camp, local journalists told Al Jazeera, as well as Adham Jabareen, a 28-year-old fighter with the Jenin Brigades armed resistance group.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the names and ages of the deceased men at 7am (04:00 GMT).

At least four other Palestinians were injured by live ammunition.

Local journalist and resident Mujahed al-Saadi, who spoke to witnesses, told Al-Jazeera that Bawaqneh, the teacher, was killed on the street in front of his home as he was attempting to help Jabareen after the latter had been shot.

“The teacher was killed when the resistance fighter was injured under his house – Bawaqneh went to bring Adham into his house to give him treatment, when the sniper shot him directly in the chest,” al-Saadi said.

Bawaqneh’s son, who was present at the scene, described the killing in a TV interview as an “execution”.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education mourned him in a statement and said he was a teacher at a boys’ high school in Jenin.

The Israeli army launched a large-scale raid with more than 70 armed vehicles into the Jenin refugee camp located inside the city at 2:30am (23:00 GMT on Wednesday) and withdrew three and a half hours later.

Special forces descended into the camp on foot, snipers positioned themselves on rooftops and roadblocks were set up in and around Jenin and the camp. Fighting with Palestinian fighters broke out soon after the raid began.

Al-Saadi said Israeli forces “raided the camp from all sides” and arrested at least six men.

During the raid, the army reportedly attempted to arrest Khaled Abu Zaineh – a leader in the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) armed group.

“They raided and searched a number of homes belonging to the family, and they arrested two of his sons,” al-Saadi said. Local media reported that Abu Zaineh appeared in Jenin shortly after and confirmed that two of his sons had been arrested.

Israeli media said one soldier was slightly injured from a homemade explosive device detonated by Palestinian fighters.

The killing of the two men brings the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank in the 19 days since 2023 began to 17, including four children. Nine of them were from Jenin.

The killings come as a result of intensified near-daily Israeli army raids that have persisted for close to a year under the banner of crushing limited Palestinian armed resistance in the northern West Bank.

Israeli forces have killed civilians confronting them during raids, uninvolved bystanders, as well as Palestinian fighters in targeted assassinations and armed clashes.

The United Nations said 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006. More than 30 children were among the 171 Palestinians killed in the West Bank last year, and at least 9,000 other Palestinians were injured.

Separately, 53 other Palestinians, including 17 children, were killed during a three-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip in August, bringing the total number of Palestinian deaths last year to 224.

Zena al-Tahhan is Al-Jazeera English’s digital correspondent in Jerusalem