After an intense 48-hour operation, the situation in the Jenin refugee camp is approaching its conclusion. Following extensive preparations spanning several months, IDF special forces have successfully withdrawn from the refugee camp after completing their counterterrorism offensive.
Despite deploying significant forces, it is important to note that no innocent civilians were harmed during the operation. Among the casualties of the operation were 18 Palestinians who were confirmed terrorists and engaged in hostile fire against Israeli forces.
An IDF fighter was killed last night during an intense exchange of gunfire inside the refugee camp. Despite receiving immediate medical treatment in the field and being airlifted to the HaEmek Medical Center in Afula, he succumbed to his injuries. The fighter's family has been notified, and a thorough investigation into the incident is underway.
While the operation resulted in the arrest of 30 terrorist operatives, the Shin Bet aims to apprehend additional targets. The objectives that prompted the IDF to initiate the operation will now be carefully evaluated: restoring deterrence in Jenin and other refugee camps in the West Bank, and ensuring unhindered operational capabilities in the region.
The IDF and Shin Bet have expressed their desire for additional arrests to be made during the ongoing operation, particularly targeting known terrorist operatives who have been wanted by security forces, for some time. Currently, the Shin Bet has successfully apprehended 30 activists that were on their radar, although this number falls short of their expectations.
The terrorists responsible for carrying out attacks and seeking refuge in Jenin have not been apprehended, including those involved in the murder of Meir Tamari over a month ago. The challenging factor contributing to this is the escape of armed individuals from their hideouts within the refugee camp, with some even using ambulances as cover to flee into the camp's hospital for concealment.
One of the primary objectives of the operation was to restore deterrence, particularly in the Jenin refugee camp, as well as in other areas. In recent months, Jenin has become a sanctuary for terrorists, with its militants acting as defenders for those responsible for carrying out attacks on the West Bank and inside Israel.
The IDF's Central Command had intermittently entered the camp based on intelligence and successfully apprehended suspects. However, each operation required substantial forces, extensive preparations, and the use of force, which, on occasion, resulted in unintended harm to non-combatants and generated international criticism of the IDF's activities in the territories. The military hopes that the restoration of deterrence in Jenin will also have a ripple effect on other areas throughout the West Bank, such as Tulkarem, where terrorists began to adopt similar tactics and where a similar terror hub could potentially develop.
The IDF and Civil Administration made significant efforts to ensure that the uninvolved Palestinian population understood that the operation solely targeted the terrorists present in the refugee camp. To emphasize this point, it was determined that all West Bank crossings would remain open for the passage of workers in Israel, throughout the operation, including those near Jenin. Additionally, there was a direct dialogue between security forces and the residents of the refugee camp, urging them not to participate in the fighting and warning them about potential attacks. These measures aimed to communicate the limited scope of the operation and minimize any unintended impact on the civilian population.
The impactful images of Palestinian families leaving their homes to seek safety, vividly demonstrate the distinction that the IDF emphasized. The true test of the operation's success will be reflected in future military actions in Jenin, specifically in terms of the level of resistance encountered and the extent to which arrests can be carried out inside the refugee camp with a reduced force.
Moreover, the IDF reports that the operation achieved its objectives. Firstly, a substantial amount of weapons and explosives were discovered, significantly reducing the arsenal available to the terrorists. Secondly, the engineering units, under the guidance of the Shin Bet, successfully exposed and neutralized the planted axles and explosive charges, eliminating one of the major threats posed to the troops, by the terrorists in Jenin.