Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson / Flash 90
IDF operating in Tulkarem (file)

Israeli forces have been operating in the Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarem for more than 30 hours straight as they worked to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and network in the area.

Israeli reserve forces “continue to operate with the additional security bodies at this time, in an extensive divisional operation to counter terrorism in the Nour Shams refugee camp in Menashe, which lasted over 30 hours. So far, the forces have detained hundreds of suspects for questioning, destroyed terrorist infrastructure and located many weapons,” the IDF said in a statement Thursday.


An additional 29 wanted suspects were arrested in counter-terror raids around the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, confiscating illegal weapons and ammunition, the IDF added.

Tulkarem is a major Arab city in Samaria, located just 16 kilometers (10 miles) east of Netanya. It has been a hub for terrorist groups who have launched many deadly attacks against Israeli civilians since the first intifada, due to its close proximity to the Sharon region in Israel.

This is not the first such operation to be carried out in Tulkarem, one of the myriad Hamas strongholds thriving throughout the Palestinian Authority. Since October 7th, however, the IDF has arrested some 2,600 terror suspects in Judea and Samaria, including about 1,300 Hamas-affiliated detainees.

The IDF carried out a similar counter terror operation in the city’s Nour Shams neighborhood in July 2023, during which Moamen Qaraawi, the son of Hamas leader Fathi Qaraawi, was among those arrested and taken into custody.

Last month, Israeli residents in the nearby community of Bat Hefer warned the IDF they were hearing the sounds of underground digging at night near their homes, an ominous sign that in past has meant terrorists tunneling in the night, preparing for a deadly attack on Israelis.

Israelis Living near Tulkarem Complain about Underground Digging Noises

The residents of the northern Israeli community of Kibbutz Misgav Am, located near the city of Kiryat Shmona on the border with Lebanon, likewise warned they were hearing digging sounds under their homes. They expressed fears that Hezbollah was planning a raid similar to the murderous Hamas attack on October 7, using underground tunnels.

Early Thursday morning, the IDF reportedly blew up a building in Tulkarem’s Nour Shams neighborhood, while searching the city building by building for wanted terror suspects. Nour Shams is a major focus of IDF counter terrorism efforts.

The forces imposed a curfew on the area with troops sealing off all entrances and exits from the Nour Shams neighborhood. Arab media reported “violent confrontations” as local terrorists attacked Israeli soldiers in Hanoun Square, Balawneh and the “Schools Neighborhood.” Israeli forces also deployed in the al-Alimi, Al-Aqsa and Aktaba neighborhoods.

Five members of the Gitawi family were arrested Wednesday night in Aktaba, a suburb on the eastern outskirts of the city, according to the Al Quds news outlet.

It is not yet clear when Israel Defense Forces will wrap up its activities.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.