Police counter-terrorism (Yamam) fighters killed three Palestinians in Jenin
overnight, among them 22-year-old Hamza Abu Al-Haija,
the son of a senior Hamas official in the West Bank. The Yamam found an M-16 assault-rifle on Al-Haija, a Hamas man himself. Mahmoud Abu Zina, from the Islamic Jihad's military wing, was also among the dead. During the overnight raid, two Yamam fighters were lightly injured.
Watch the raid below, documented through the helmet-camera of one of the fighters:
|Helmet camera documentation of raid|
The video, filmed with a Go-Pro camera, shows the incident unfolding. It shows the flashes of bullet-fire coming from Al-Haija's rifle from the first-floor window of the building, as well as the Yamam storming the entrance. In addition, the video shows the fighter changing the magazine of his weapon, and the Yamam blowing up the door to the building with explosives.
An initial debriefing of the incident in Jenin showed that the IDF's Judea and Samaria Division had been closely tracing Al-Haija's movements in recent days, after a months' long manhunt for the wanted Hamas man.
The compound in which he was hiding was discovered Friday night inside the Jenin refugee camp. An elite Border Guard counter-terrorism unit, the Yamam, encircled the building, while a number of other IDF units secured the perimeter.
The joint operation included soldiers from the Kfir Brigade and Netzah Yehuda Battalion, a haredi unit, as well as troops from the Border Guard.
The debriefing showed that the soldiers were greeted with gunfire from Al-Haija when they entered the compound. The soldiers asked the residents to exit the building, and shot warning rounds.
Meanwhile, the terrorist continued shooting at the Israeli soldiers. Within minutes dozens of armed Palestinians came to the location and opened fire on the IDF and Border Guard troops.
After a short intermission, the Hamas man exited the house while firing at the Israeli forces. Two Yamam soldiers were lightly injured from the shooting but managed to return fire, killing the 22-year-old terrorist.
At the same time, a gunfight raged between the troops and armed Palestinians that arrived at the scene. Two of the armed Palestinians were killed in the fire exchange, and seven others were wounded, one critically.
"Around us was a battle between armed gunmen and perimeter security. This was not riot," emphasized a senior official in Central Command, "There could have been 15 Palestinian casualties and they all would have been killed legally and according to the rules of engagement."
The two injured soldiers were still hospitalized in light condition, one of them suffering from a wound in his hand. Border Police officers visited them during the day and praised them for their bravery.
The source noted that "we are looking at the thwarting of a 'ticking time bomb' and not another arrest. The wanted man was directed by Hamas officials in Gaza, including those released in the (Gilad) Shalit deal, to commit a terror attack in the immediate future simultaneously on a settlement and on IDF forces."