JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security forces that took part in a deadly operation in the West Bank to arrest a Hamas terrorist.
The suspect and at least two others were killed in the raid in the Jenin refugee camp on Saturday morning.
“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 weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu commended the units in the raid for “carrying out a very important operation in eliminating someone who endangered Israeli citizens.”
The suspected terrorist was identified 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 Israeli soldiers, the Israel Defence Forces said in a statement.
Abu Alhija barricaded himself in his home with other Hamas operatives, according to the IDF, then opened fire on Israeli forces, wounding two, before attempting to escape while continuing to shoot. Israeli forces responded with live gunfire, killing him.
In the ensuing riot at the scene, Palestinians from Jenin threw rocks, firebombs and explosives at the Israeli forces. The Israelis responded with live fire, killing at least two other Palestinians, who were identified as belonging to Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of the ruling Fatah party.
Three Palestinian terrorist groups – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa 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, calling it an “escalation” by Israel. The statement also called on the United States to get involved before the teetering peace negotiations are completely “ruined.”