Jenin operation nearing its end: Security forces take control of mosque, discover weapons cache

At least 10 terrorists were killed and dozens arrested during a day full of exchange of gunfire and airstrikes; Gallant: 'We've dealt a massive blow on terror organizations in Jenin'

Yoav Zitun, Einav Halabi, Elisha Ben Kimon, Daniel Salami|Updated:
Israel's operation in Jenin, which began early on Monday morning, is nearing its end. Israeli forces have taken control of a mosque in the center of the Palestinian city in West Bank , where they discovered openings to underground storage areas containing weapons stockpiles. Meanwhile, the terrorists who had barricaded themselves inside the mosque apparently fled or are hiding on the outskirts of the compound.
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On Monday evening, a situational assessment of the Jenin operation was held, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, together with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, Air Force Commander Major General Tomer Bar, head of the Central Command Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, Chief of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk and other senior officials in the security establishment.
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הערכת המצב בחפ״ק אוגדת איו״ש בראשות ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, יחד עם שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, הרמטכ״ל רב-אלוף הרצי הלוי, ראש השב״כ רונן בר, מפקד חיל האוויר האלוף תומר בר ועוד
הערכת המצב בחפ״ק אוגדת איו״ש בראשות ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, יחד עם שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, הרמטכ״ל רב-אלוף הרצי הלוי, ראש השב״כ רונן בר, מפקד חיל האוויר האלוף תומר בר ועוד
Situational assessment of the operation in Fenin
(Photo: Ariel Harmoni/Defense Ministry)
About a thousand soldiers took part in the operation in Jenin, which is nearing its end in the next few hours barring an unusual event. Security officials said that despite the Palestinian Authority's announcement about ending security coordination, Israeli field officials and their Palestinian counterparts remained in contact throughout the day.
At least 10 Palestinian terrorists have been killed in the operation and another 30 injured, with two of them evacuated to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Some 70 Palestinian terrorists have been detained and arrested. In the city of Jenin, there are problems with the supply of electricity supply after damage to the infrastructure.
Throughout the many hours of fighting, Palestinian terrorists fled from friction points in the refugee camp and went into hiding, evidence of the shock that gripped them after the opening blow and the airstrikes, according to the IDF.
The White House, later on Monday expressed its support for “Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups.”
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old Palestinian resident of the West Bank stabbed a 29-year-old man in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak and slightly wounded him. The Palestinian fled the scene and was later captured. He said that he carried out the attack due to the operation in Jenin.
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אותרה בג'נין מעבדת נפץ עם מאות מטענים
אותרה בג'נין מעבדת נפץ עם מאות מטענים
An explosives laboratory with hundreds of charges was discovered in Jenin
(Photo: IDF spokesman's office)
After consultation with IDF commanders, Gallant said at mid-day Monday that Israeli troops had complete backing to do whatever is needed to defend Israelis. "We've dealt a massive blow on terror organizations in Jenin in the past hours, and have achieved impressive successes," Gallant said
Meanwhile, defense officials have been closely monitoring other parts of the West Bank for attempts to carry out attacks on Israeli troops and civilians, as well as heightened tensions and clashes in various flashpoint areas.
The army reported that Israeli forces were engaged in heavy gun battles with armed terrorists firing from residential buildings and mosques. Fighter jets were reportedly scrambled to neutralize targets.
Large IDF forces poured into the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank early Monday as part of what the army dubbed a "wide-scale effort" to clean out what has turned into a hotbed of terrorist activity which produced numerous attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians.
The operation commenced with aerial strikes followed by the entry of ground troops into the city. The military emphasized it was focusing on targeting terrorists rather than civilians, stating its objective to eliminate Jenin as a safe haven for those involved in terrorist activities.
Mourad Malaishe and Muhammed Barhama, senior members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, were reportedly arrested by the Palestinian Authority in the city of Tubas near Nablus while en route to join the fighting in Jenin.
According to the IDF and Shin Bet, Air Force fighter jets carried out over 10 strikes targeting terrorist infrastructure and armed suspects in the refugee camp. Additionally, the forces destroyed a laboratory involved in the production and storage of explosives. The troops also found and confiscated an improvised rocket launch pad and other armaments.
The IDF reported that one soldier sustained light to moderate injuries caused by shrapnel from a grenade in the early morning hours and has since recovered and returned to action. Sergeant Major O. of the elite Duvdevan undercover commando unit insisted on rejoining his fellow soldiers in Jenin after receiving medical treatment.
Armored bulldozers were deployed to clear the city roads and identify and avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In a separate raid earlier this month, an IDF armored vehicle was immobilized after encountering a powerful explosive charge planted on a road in Jenin. The incident prompted an extensive rescue operation to extract the immobilized vehicle, during which Israeli security forces faced intense gunfire for hours.
The operation had been in the planning for the past year and was delayed twice while the decision was finally made to strike after the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. The military stated it had no intention of occupying the city but rather planned to restore Israel's deterrence in the northern West Bank, with an emphasis on Jenin.
Hundreds of special forces soldiers as well as aircraft and heavy engineering equipment were deployed for the task. Palestinian security forces were told to leave the city as the operation went underway.
Israel was bracing for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in response but said the security forces believe the Gaza factions will stay out of the fight if the scope of the operation in Jenin remains limited, as planned.
The joint command of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip said that their response to Israel's counterterrorism operation in Jenin will be determined by the military's conduct. "Our warriors on all fronts are prepared for an immediate response if the occupation continues its crimes," the factions said.
First published: 18:37, 07.03.23
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