Two Border Police counterterrorism fighters were wounded, one Palestinian terrorist was killed and another was captured after an exchange of gunfire late Wednesday night in Jenin, related to the January 9 murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach.
The Border Police’s Yamam counterterrorism unit, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF’s Menashe Brigade located the terrorist cell believed to be responsible for Shevach’s murder, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“Shortly after midnight we surrounded the area and cordoned it off. Yamam units moved in, and shots were fired,” Rosenfeld said on Thursday morning.
“In the gun battle that took place, two Yamam officers were wounded – one seriously and one lightly – and one of the terrorists was shot and killed, while the second terrorist was captured,” he said.
Both Yamam fighters were flown to an undisclosed hospital, Rosenfeld said.
Police confirmed that the slain terrorist was responsible for the killing of Shevach.
Israel Police Foreign Press Spokseman Mickey Rosenfeld reports on the January 17 manhunt in Jenin. (Credit: Israel Police)
The second suspect is being questioned, while several other Palestinians were detained for questioning.
A Palestinian Authority Health Ministry official identified the terrorist who was killed as Ahmed Jarrar. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was related to Nasr Jarrar, who was a key leader of the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, in the West Bank.
The senior Jarrar was killed by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada in 2002. Palestinian sources denied reports that they were father and son.
On Thursday, Hamas spokesmen called for an end to security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
During the raid on Wednesday night, soldiers blew up a building believed to house another terrorist, Palestinian media reported.
The operation in Jenin is expected to continue, with hundreds of soldiers deployed to search for additional suspects and the weapons they used during the attack on Shevach.
“The IDF and security forces will continue to act to protect the security of Israeli citizens and will act to prevent terrorist activities against Israelis,” the army said in a statement.
Riots broke out in Jenin following the gun battle, and Israeli fighters were besieged by hundreds of masked Palestinians who threw rocks and firebombs at them. No serious injuries were reported.
“Border police and other units are in and around the area to deal with riots and other disturbances stemming from the operation and are restoring order,” Rosenfeld said. “The operation continued throughout the night in order to find any further potential terrorists and is ongoing.”
Shevach, 32, a resident of the Havat Gilad outpost in central Samaria, near Nablus, was shot 22 times last week, close to his home in a drive-by attack on Route 60. He was married with six children – four daughters and two sons – ages 11 to eight months.
Hamas issued a statement praising the murder.
“We bless the heroic Nablus operation, which comes as a result of the Zionist occupation’s violations and crimes at the expense of our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” the terrorist organization said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman congratulated the Yamam troops on their bravery in Jenin, saying that they “carried out a complex and successful operation” to capture Shevach’s killers. He also sent his best wishes to the two wounded officers.
“Terrorists will have nowhere to hide,” the minister said. “We’ll get to the terrorists anywhere.”
Hamas spokesmen on Thursday lashed out at security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif al-Qanou said, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, that the Jenin raid “could not have happened without information sharing and damned security coordination,” adding that the security relationship between Israel and the PA should “be ended.”
Neither the PA nor Israel has said that they worked together in pursuing suspects in Shevach’s death.
However, the PA security forces and Israel are known to cooperate in the West Bank to prevent attacks against Israelis.
Last weekend, a Palestinian security official told The Jerusalem Post
that the PA security forces “are constantly trying to prevent attacks like the one that took place in the Nablus area.”
On Thursday, PA security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri did not respond to a request for comment.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also slammed security cooperation, referring to it as “criminal.”
“The criminal role of security cooperation will not succeed in preventing the resistance from confronting Trump’s decisions and protecting Jerusalem,” he tweeted, alluding to President Donald Trump’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiate the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city.
After Trump’s decisions, Hamas Politburo chairman Ismail Haniyeh called for security coordination to end and on Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to launch a new intifada.
Adam Rasgon, Hagay Hacohen, Jeremy Sharon and Reuters contributed to this report.