Islamic Jihad, Hamas commanders killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin
The spokesmen of both terror groups called the killings a ‘crime’ and threatened to exact a price from Israel.
By TZVI JOFFRE
Published: MARCH 16, 2023 15:48
Updated: MARCH 16, 2023 17:34
IDF soldiers during a raid on Jenin.
Two commanders of local branches of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin on Thursday.
The two killed were identified as Nidal Hazem, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s al-Quds Brigades and the commander of the Baha Force unit, and Youssef Shreim, a member of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades.
A third individual identified as Omar Awadin and a fourth individual were killed amid the clashes as well and 20 others were wounded.Top ArticlesRead More
An IDF raid in Jenin, January 26, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)
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The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police announced after the raid that they had assassinated Hazem and an additional member of the Islamic Jihad movement named Youssef Abu Ashrin. Abu Ashrin has not been reported as one of those killed in Palestinian reports and it is unclear if Youssef Shreim is the same individual.
According to the IDF, Hazem was involved in “significant terrorist activity” and Abu Ashrin was involved in producing explosives and firing at IDF soldiers, among other terrorist activities.
One of the other Palestinians killed was shot by Israeli forces after attacking the forces with a sledgehammer, according to the IDF. Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinians who shot at them during the raid as well. No Israeli personnel were injured.
Footage from the scene showed two individuals seemingly shot by Israeli forces laying in the middle of a street.
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Hazem and Shreim were reportedly commanders in their respective terrorist groups. Hazem is also the nephew of Fathi Hazem, the father of the terrorist who carried out the Dizengoff shooting attack last year.
Hamas threatens to react
Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou warned that “The crime of assassinating the heroes of the resistance in Jenin will not go unanswered, and our people and its resistance are capable of striking the occupation and making it pay the price for its crimes.”
“The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank will remain present and escalating, and no one will be able to stop its expansion or prevent it from responding to the crimes of the occupation.”
Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Ezz El-Din warned as well “the occupation bears full responsibility for the cowardly assassination crime carried out by Zionist special forces against the fighters and mujahideen of our Palestinian people in Jenin this evening and will pay the price for these crimes.”
“We say to this criminal occupier, do not rejoice in your act too much, for our martyrs are in heaven, and this is the name of our wishes, but you will regret a lot because our resistance will not spare the blood of our martyred leaders and will avenge them with all force.”
The governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, stressed that Israel “crossed all red lines” in the clashes on Thursday. “It is clear that the life of the Palestinian citizen for the Israeli government is worth nothing.”
The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, claimed that the clash in Jenin aimed “to detonate the situation and drag the region into a square of tension and violence.”
The spokesman additionally claimed that the clashes show that Israel “is not at all interested in calming the situation and preventing its eruption, contrary to all international efforts seeking to prevent escalation in the holy month of Ramadan.”
Israel and the PA will hold a meeting in Egypt
The raid in Jenin comes as Israel and the Palestinian Authority reportedly are preparing to hold a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh next week in an attempt to lower tensions ahead of the month of Ramadan which is set to begin in the middle of next week.
Late last month, Israel and the PA held talks to reduce tensions in Aqaba.
On Thursday, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, told Palestine TV that “it is not justified to hold another meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, if Israel does not abide by what was signed and agreed upon.”
According to al-Ahmad, PA officials were holding meetings in Amman on Thursday to discuss the possibility of participating in the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh.
On Thursday, a member of the Islamic Jihad movement’s political bureau, Muhammad al-Hindi, told Quds news that “The aim of the Sharm al-Sheikh meeting is to try to achieve the goal of the Aqaba meeting by activating the so-called security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the enemy under direct American auspices in order to besiege and strike the Palestinian resistance and involve the authority in that, especially in Nablus and Jenin.”
Earlier this month, Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’s foreign political bureau, warned that the region is “on the verge of heated days” of violence and that the situation will escalate during Ramadan.
“Things are going to escalate in Ramadan, and we are on the verge of hot days due to the continued aggression and crimes of the occupation, and the Palestinian people know that there is no recovery for the homeland except through resistance in all its forms,” said Mashaal.
Last week, Abdel Fattah Hussain Harusha, the terrorist who murdered Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara, was killed in a firefight with the IDF and the National Counter Terror Unit (YAMAM) in Jenin.
In total, six Palestinians died in that raid and 26 more were wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Two YAMAM officers were lightly injured by Palestinian fire during the raid in Jenin.