An IDF force operating east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem overnight killed Iyad abu Shilbayeh, formerly a senior Hamas operative, Ynet learned Friday.
According to the IDF Spokesman's Unit, the force was arresting terror suspects in the Palestinian village of Nur al-Shams when the shooting occurred.
During the operation, Shilbayeh – who spent several years in Israeli prisons and was wanted for questioning – began running towards the soldiers in a menacing manner. According to the military, Shilbayeh did not to adhere to their calls to stop, and once the soldiers determined they were in clear danger, they opened fire.
Twelve other suspects were arrested during the raid and the IDF is investigating Shalabiya's shooting.
According to Palestinian sources, however, dozens of military vehicles entered the village at 2 am. The Troops, alleged the sources, arrived at Shilbayeh's house and grabbed his brother, Muhammad, to use as a human shield.
The force, said the brother, blew up the bedroom door and proceeded to shoot Shilbayeh three times – once in the neck and twice in the chest, while he was in bed. His body was transferred to the Palestinian Distric Coordination Office several hours later.
According to other family members, Shilbayeh's wife and children were visiting other family members in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Hamas military spokesman in Gaza Abu Obeida confirmed Shilbayeh was a member of the group's armed wing: "The blood of our martyr will be a curse that will follow the occupation and the traitors," he said, referring to Hamas' rivals in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which has ruled only the West Bank since losing control of the Gaza Strip, to Hamas militants in 2007.
New operational protocol?
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Hebron area are claiming that IDF troops have found a new way of ensuring cars stop for inspection.
According to Palestinian sources, the last few days have seen soldiers stationed in the sector between the Palestinian villages of Dura and Dahariya throw stun grenades at the road in order to stop Palestinian vehicles for inspection.
The latest incident, a Palestinian driver told Ynet, occurred on Wednesday night. The man said he was driving towards Dahariya around 10 pm, when an explosion happened just ahead of his car.
"At least one stun grenade exploded just ahead of me, and then several soldiers came out from one of the orchards and told me to get out of the car."
The troops, he said, asked him to disrobe, "which was humiliating. But I am not the only one to be harassed like that. It is my understanding that his has been going on for at least three days."
The IDF Spokesman's Unit offered the following: "After the terror attack that took place two weeks ago, when four Israelis were murdered, the IDF has increased its activity in the Hebron sector, in order to thwart further terror attempts by Hamas, whose members often try to pass themselves as innocent civilians and drivers.
"The claim that using stun grenades is a new operational procedure is false. The incident in question in being investigated."
Ali Waked and Reuters contributed to this report
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