Four Palestinians were killed Friday by Israeli forces after gunmen opened fire at troops operating in the West Bank and outside Gaza. Among those killed is an 11-year-old boy, a relative of a wanted Islamic Jihad member who was apparently caught in the crossfire.
In the village of Seida northeast of Tulkarm a special joint IDF, Border Police and Shin-Bet force conducting an arrest operation came under fire from Palestinian gunmen as they approached the home of a wanted man and a gunbattle ensued.
Palestinians said one of those killed is an 11-year-old boy. The army confirmed it had killed a wanted Islamic Jihad gunman but said it did not know the identity of the second fatality. A second wanted gunman was seriously wounded and evacuated to an Israeli hospital for treatment.
One Border Police officer was lightly wounded from shrapnel and recieved medical treatment at the scene.
Troops also uncovered two AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition at the scene.
Palestinian media reported the boy's name as Mahmoud Ibrahim Karnawi and said he was the half-brother of Sadiq Mahmoud Odi, the wanted gunman who was wounded by the IDF.
Neighbors said the boy was inside the home at the time of the shooting and hit in the crossfire. Relatives said the boy lived in Israel with his parents - a divorced Palestinian woman who remarried an Arab Israeli. The family was visiting relatives in the West Bank at the time of the shooting, the relatives said.
Several additional Palestinians were taken into custody during the operation.
Also Friday evening an IDF force patrolling the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip came under fire from two armed Palestinians, just north of the Karni crossing.
The troops then crossed some 330 feet into Gaza and killed the two gunmen after a short exchange of fire. No IDF casualties were reported. The soldiers recovered AK-47 assault rifles from the gunmen's bodies.
Officials within the Gaza battalion said the gunmen had apparently been waiting for an IDF patrol to pass by in order to attack it.
"This incident proves that there is never a moment of quiet along the border and that there are many attempts to harm the forces securing it or infiltrate into Israel and carry out an attack there," said military sources.
The Palestinian Authority censured IDF operations in the past week. A spokesman from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office referred to the incidents as the "crimes of manslaughter and assassination against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank."
Of the 16 casualties over the past week, 13 were gunmen – including six members
of Hamas' military wing Monday, three Islamic Jihad operatives
and a PFLP member
on Tuesday and a senior Hamas commander
on Wednesday. Two children were also killed during the strike against the Islamic Jihad operatives.
The Friday before that, a 16-year-old boy was killed in the crossfire
when IDF forces fired back at attacking Fatah and Islamic Jihad members holed up in a West Bank school near Jenin. One of the Palestinian gunmen in the incident later died of his wounds.
Hanan Greenberg and news agencies contributed to this report