Four Palestinians wounded in clashes; troops entered Silat al-Harithiya to demolish floor of home belonging to terror suspect in killing of Israeli yeshiva student

Illustrative: The IDF carries out overnight raids in the West Bank, August 1, 2016 (IDF)
Illustrative: The IDF carries out overnight raids in the West Bank, August 1, 2016 (IDF)


Israeli troops opened fire on a group of armed Palestinians during a firefight surrounding the demolition of the home of a terror suspect near Jenin in the West Bank late Sunday, the army said. Palestinians reported that a 17-year old was killed.

Mohammad Akram Ali Taher Abu Salah, 17, died after being shot in the head by live Israeli fire, according to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry. In a statement, the Israeli military said that troops had come under fire and that “soldiers fired at several armed [Palestinians] who they identified at the scene.”

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, four other Palestinians were wounded during the clashes.

The army said troops had come under fire, in addition to having rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown at the soldiers at several positions inside the village during the Sunday night raid.

According to the Palestine Today channel, which is affiliated with Islamic Jihad, the terror group’s armed wing — the Al-Quds Brigades — was behind the shooting attacks on the IDF forces.

“The Jenin Battalion executed several shooting attacks tonight targeting the occupation army and causing injuries among its ranks,” the Al-Quds Brigades said in a statement put out by Palestine Today.

The IDF did not report any casualties.

Israeli troops had earlier entered Silat al-Harithiya to demolish a floor of a home in which terror suspect Mahmoud Jaradat lived. Israeli authorities have charged Jaradat, along with three other Palestinians, in the killing of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, in a deadly West Bank terror attack in mid-December.

Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy is highly controversial even within the Israeli security services and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Dimentman was killed as he left a yeshiva at the Homesh outpost where he studied. Homesh was evacuated in 2005 following the withdrawal from Gaza and some West Bank settlements.

While Israeli law bans resettling at Homesh, the army has tolerated the establishment of the yeshiva for over a decade and a half. The area has also been the site of repeated clashes between the outpost’s hard-right Jewish settlers and local Palestinians.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)
Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

Tensions have been rising across the West Bank over the past few months. December and January saw repeated “lone wolf” attacks, with Palestinians seeking to stab or run over Israelis. The Israeli army also reported several incidents in which bursts of gunfire struck military posts, without any casualties.

Last Tuesday, Israeli undercover police killed three Palestinians during a rare daytime raid in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Israeli troops fired dozens of rounds into the car before seizing two M-16 rifles from the vehicle and driving away from the scene.

Israeli defense officials accused the three of being behind in the string of recent shooting attacks. They were later claimed as members by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a loose coalition of armed groups affiliated with the ruling Fatah party.

Thousands of Palestinians participated in the funeral for the three suspects. In videos from the event, dozens of masked, armed gunmen could be seen marching in the procession.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to get Israel back “twice as hard” for the deaths of the three suspects, which he called “premeditated murder.”

But many Palestinians voiced criticism of the PA’s policy of coordinating with Israel on security, which they said had led to the raid. The PA regularly works with Israel to crack down on Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank, a policy that is widely unpopular with the Palestinian public.

As reported by The Times of Israel