Two Palestinian terror group fighters were killed in clashes with Israeli troops that broke out during a pre-dawn IDF raid on a suburb of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The local branch of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group identified one of the men as its leader Mohammed Ayman al-Saadi. The other man was identified as Na’im Zubeidi, a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — an armed group affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Zubeidi was a cousin of Zakaria Zubeidi — a notorious Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades arch-terrorist who was behind countless attacks on Israelis during the Second Intifada and escaped from Israeli prison last year.
The shootout in the village of Wadi Burqin ensued during a crackdown on wanted persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activity. Five suspects were arrested including Islamic Jihad operative Wassam Faiz who planned to detonate a car bomb against Israeli targets.
The Israeli defense establishment system sanctioned Faiz’s immediate arrest after intelligence indicated that was planning to carry out significant attacks throughout the West Bank.
Another Islamic Jihad operative who was arrested in the overnight raid led shooting attacks against Israeli targets in the northern West Bank alongside Faiz and also planned additional attacks.
The Palestinians reported that more than 10 Palestinians were wounded to varying degrees in the firefight. There were no reports of casualties on the Israeli side.
An Islamic Jihad spokesperson said, “with great pride, we celebrate the death of two of our most prominent leaders - field commander Mohammed al-Saadi and the brave martyr, the freed prisoner and the great shadow warrior of the resistance, Commander Na’im Zubeidi, who became a martyr in an operation carried out by the Zionist special forces in the heroic Jenin camp."
Fatah's Jenin branch announced a general strike in the city as an act of mourning on the death of al-Saadi and Zubeidi, as well as another Palestinian who was killed the previous day in an IDF raid on the town of Ya'abad near Jenin.
Israeli forces sought the arrest of Hamas operative Aboud Hirzullah, who previously served time in Israeli prison and was released several months ago.
The troops came under attack by Israeli militants who opened live fire and hurled explosives at them. According to the Palestinians, Hirzullah turned himself in after he and his brother were hurt in the raid.
Israel has cracked down on militants and protesters across the West Bank in near-daily raids that have often ended in deadly clashes, following a series of fatal street attacks by Palestinians in Israel earlier this year.
The Palestinian health ministry said 210 Palestinians have been killed this year, including those who died during a brief conflict in Gaza in August. They included militants and civilians.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.