Soldier patrols in Hebron 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Two Palestinians were killed in the West Bank over the weekend, one of them in a
mistaken shooting during an IDF arrest operation in Hebron.
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raid took place early Friday morning when a force from the IDF’s elite Duvdevan
Unit entered Hebron in search of five members of Hamas’s military wing in the
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During the operation, after the force arrested one of the suspected
terrorists, they spotted another man in a different room in the house. The man
apparently made a sudden move and the soldiers, fearing that he was reaching for
a weapon, opened fire.
Palestinian security officials identified the dead
man as 66-year-old Omar Qawasmeh, who lived in the same building but on a
different floor from one of the suspected Hamas terrorists arrested during the
Qawasmeh’s wife said that the soldiers opened fire at him while he
was sleeping in his bed.
One of the men arrested was Wael Bitar, who
assisted a Hamas terror cell that carried out a suicide bombing in 2008 in
Dimona, in which one Israeli was killed and 10 others injured. In the years
since, Bitar has been instrumental in attempts to perpetrate additional suicide
attacks that were thwarted by the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security
Bitar and the other Hamas operatives were also involved in a
shooting attack in September, in which four Israelis were killed near Kiryat
The IDF Central Command launched an investigation into the
Bitar was one of six Hamas terrorists released from Palestinian
prison on Thursday after they launched a hunger strike to protest their
incarceration. They were freed following a series of high-level contacts between
Hamas officials and Palestinian Authority officials, as well as an intervention
by the emir of Qatar.
Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the Judea and
Samaria Division, expressed regret for the killing in Hebron and traveled there
on Saturday to lead the IDF investigation into the incident.
a Palestinian man named Khaldoon Sammoudi was shot and killed at the Bekaot
checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley after he ignored soldiers’ calls to
stop. The soldiers later found a pipe bomb on his body.
eyewitnesses, Sammoudi got out of a taxi and approached the checkpoint while
yelling “Allahu akbar.” In response, the soldiers opened fire at
This is the second incident in the past week where IDF soldiers have
had to open fire at the Bekaot checkpoint.
Last Sunday, IDF soldiers shot
and killed Muhammad Dharaghma, a 21-year-old Palestinian who arrived at the
checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, south of Beit She’an, and did not heed
a soldier’s call to stop.
The Palestinian was unarmed, but IDF sources
said that he was carrying a bottle in his hand and that the soldier later told
his commanders that he felt threatened.
The IDF is investigating the
shooting.Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.