JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security forces that took part in an operation in Jenin to arrest a Hamas terrorist, which left the suspect and at least two others dead.
“Our policy is to attack those who attack us and who are planning to attack us. Both were applicable in this case,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the beginning of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting.
The suspected terrorist was identified by the Israel Defense Forces as Hamza Abu Alhija, who was wanted for involvement in shooting and bombing attacks as well as planning future terror attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, the IDF said in a statement.
During the early Saturday morning raid, forces from the Police Special Anti-Terror Unit, the IDF and the Shin Bet security service tried to arrest Abu Alhija, who barricaded himself in his home with other Hamas operatives, according to the IDF.
Abu Alhija then opened fire at the Israeli forces, wounding two security personnel, and then attempted to escape while continuing to shoot. The security forces responded with live gunfire, killing him.
During a riot that erupted at the scene, during which Palestinians from Jenin threw rocks, fire bombs, and explosives at the Israeli forces, the Israeli troops responded with live fire, killing at least two other Arabs, identified as belonging to Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of the ruling Fatah Party.
Two Israeli security forces were injured in the incident.
Three Palestinian terrorist groups – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades – issued a joint statement warning that they will take revenge on Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the deaths.
“The resistance in the West Bank is alive and won’t die, and the Zionist enemy can’t guess from where the resistance will attack. The blood of Jenin Martyrs won’t go in vain,” the groups said in a statement, according to the Times of Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ office condemned the incident, and called it an “escalation” by Israel. The statement also called on the United States to get involved before the teetering peace negotiations are completely “ruined.”