The arrest of Islamic Jihad's West Bank chief was a complex operation carried out in a hostile environment, under heavy fire that began ringing out before the first soldier even exited the undercover vehicle.
It took a lot of effort by the Israeli forces to complete the mission to capture Bassam al-Saadi, which almost ended in a failure. For months now, security forces tried to capture the 61-year-old commander, but without success.
The operation began relatively early, around 10pm, while people in the Jenin refugee camp were still wide awake. The commander of the Menashe Brigade, IDF Colonel Eric Moyle, gave the signal, and undercover troops entered the crowded camp in civilian vehicles, fooling the Palestinian gunmen who patrol the local alleys.
Special forces from the Nahal Brigade were also part of the raid, and their role was to secure the entrance for the undercover operatives and thwart any attempts of the rioters or armed men who tried to disrupt the mission.
Seconds before the squad got out of the vehicle to enter the house where al-Saadi was staying, first round of gunshots was heard.
The special Nahal forces were not at the scene yet, however, the undercover squad didn't wait for them because they already had confirmation of al-Saddi's whereabouts. The West Bank commander also heard the gunshots, which were a warning sign for him, and he attempted to escape the house.
At this point, the undercover forces were already closing in on his relatively large house, and al-Saadi tried to hide in the lower and outer parts of the building, but the force memorized every corner of the compound in preparation for the raid.
Just moments before he successfully escaped thanks to the gunfire outside, one of the IDF troops spotted him and released his dog to capture the terror chief. The dog bit al-Saadi, who resisted the arrest, injuring his ear.
With the capture of al-Saddi, the undercover security forces cuffed him, as gunfire around escalated, while the Nahal troops were still en route to provide cover. The commander of the forces decided to take cover inside the house - which was relatively large and had a vantage point - and fight off the armed Palestinians from inside the due to its strategical advantage.
During the search of the house, security forces found firearms, ammunition, and a stash of cash that al-Saddi had hidden, all while other members of the squad exchanged fire with Palestinians who closed in on the compound.
A short while later, the reinforcements from the Nahal finally arrived, with their cruiser cornering Palestinian gunmen, killing one of them and wounding three others. At this point, the undercover unit was ready to leave the area, but the mission was not complete yet - al-Saadi's son-in-law was not located.
Jeddah, the son-in-law of Sa'adi, is considered to be his trusted assistant, but he is less familiar. The undercover unit searched for him in the building, but with no luck.
At one point, they checked the vehicles next to the house and discovered a young Palestinian. The young man lied to them about his identity, and the troops left him alone - not knowing it was their target, Ashraf Jeddah, who used their extraction to hide in a nearby grocery store.
The forces asked for permission to leave the area without him because the gunfire was intensifying. However, A Shin Bet commander who was nearby overseeing the raid, informed the troops that Jeddah was the Palestinian they questioned a few minutes ago, and now he's hiding in a grocery store.
The undercover troops, who received the exact location of Jeddah, were prepared to raid the place, despite not being familiar with the building. They pulled Jeddah out of the grocery store and rushed out of the refugee camp. Near midnight, the operation was completed successfully, with no casualties among the troops.