Military operates in Kafr Dan, the Jenin-area hometown of two Palestinians who killed an officer on West Bank barrier a night earlier
By EMANUEL FABIAN
The Israeli military said Thursday troops operated in the West Bank village of Kafr Dan, the hometown of two Palestinian gunmen who carried out a deadly attack along the West Bank security barrier a day earlier, in order to map out their residences ahead of a potential demolition.
During the overnight operation, troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen. The Palestinian Authority health ministry said a 17-year-old Palestinian, Oday Salah, was killed by Israeli gunfire.
The Israel Defense Forces said troops opened fire at armed Palestinians who shot toward troops and hurled explosive devices and Molotov cocktails, adding that “hits were identified.”
The soldiers were mapping the homes of Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed, from the village near Jenin, who shot and killed Maj. Bar Falah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit, early Wednesday.
They were both slain in an ensuing firefight with troops, near the northern West Bank village of Jalamah.
Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.
The IDF added that troops arrested two Palestinians in Kafr Dan suspected of aiding the two gunmen, and seized two firearms.
According to the IDF, before dawn on Wednesday, soldiers operating surveillance cameras spotted the two suspects in the so-called seam zone between the West Bank and Israel. Troops, including Falah and his team, dispatched to investigate flanked the pair and initiated arrest procedures, leading to the exchange of fire.
The military suspected the two were planning to ambush troops stationed at a nearby post.
Following the deadly shooting, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the closure of the Jalamah and Salem checkpoints, as well as halting the entry permits to Israel for residents of Kafr Dan, all until further notice.
Tensions have spiked in the region in recent weeks as Israeli forces have ratcheted up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts that Palestinians say inflame anger.
Israeli troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in the West Bank. The military launched the operation after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May.
\Kafr Dan is located close to Jenin, where a number of the attacks earlier in the year originated and where the IDF has concentrated much of its anti-terror campaign.
At least 98 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, according to a tally from the PA health ministry, including 34 in the Jenin area alone.
More than 2,000 suspects have been detained since the beginning of the year, according to the Shin Bet security agency.
In separate raids across the West Bank early Thursday, troops detained another six wanted Palestinians, the IDF said.