“Israeli” soldiers Saturday raided the hometown in Palestine of a man suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv. The raid reportedly turned into a gunbattle in the occupied West Bank that left at least one Palestinian dead, according to Israeli and Palestinian accounts.
The raid was the latest in a series of events that escalated tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Protests and the heavy-handed “Israeli” response, including the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem last year, helped spark an 11-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In Saturday's raid, the ‘Israeli’ military said it conducted what it described as a counterterrorism operation in and around the city of Jenin – the area in the northern West Bank where the gunman in Thursday's attack 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 controversial practice that it says deters future attackers but which critics dismiss as collective punishment.
The Israeli 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 Palestinian. The Palestinian group Islamic Jihad identified the man as a member.
Israel said a second gunman was shot and wounded and taken away for medical treatment and the man's weapon was confiscated.
‘Israeli’ forces often come under fire when operating in Jenin. 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 youth opened fire in central Tel Aviv, killing three people. The attacker, identified as Raad Hazem, 28, of Jenin, was later killed by Israeli forces.
It was the fourth deadly attack in ‘Israel’ in three weeks, which the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv condemned Friday and expressed its concern about the rising number of attacks, and came at a time of heightened tensions around the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Reportedly, two of those attacks were carried out by men from Jenin.
In contrast to last year, however, ‘Israel’ has been taking 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 – except if they are men aged 50 and under – to enter occupied East Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers on Friday./DS