An IDF unit that arrived in Jenin to make an arrest was mobbed by residents who hurled firebombs and rocks and set tires on fire.
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Backup forces that arrived at the West Bank city helped the troops push the crowd back and exit the area unscathed.
In a rare move, the elite army unit entered the city during the day to arrest a top terror operative who is said to be plotting an attack. As the troops searched for the suspect, who ultimately was not apprehended, they were surrounded by some 500 Palestinians who charged at the unit.
Riot in Jenin, earlier this week (Photo: AFP)
The soldiers, who were prepared for the possibility of a violent confrontation, and the auxiliary force fought back with means of crowd control.
"The security forces are collaborating around the clock to maintain stability and will continue making efforts to thwart terrorism," an army source said.
Officials within the defense establishment have voiced concern that the mounting tension between the Palestinians and the Israeli security forces in the West Bank could soon boil over into a third intifada. To prevent such an escalation the security forces have stepped up arrests of suspected terrorists in the area.
“There is a certain (Palestinian) awakening,” one source told AFP. “As a consequence a decision was taken within the security establishment to increase intelligence activity and arrests among members of Hamas or operatives against Israel.
“It started in the past few days and will increase,” he added.
Security officials have noted an upswing in clashes since November's eight-day battle between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. They have recorded 122 Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the West Bank, compared with 39 in October, and 44 incidents in Jerusalem, up from 31 the month before.
Yoav Zitun contributed to the report
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