Jenin operation: IDF arrests 120 terrorists as fighting continues

Achieving goals, small resistance could lead to faster than expected wrap-up, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday morning.

IDF soldiers operate in the underground section of a mosque, where an explosives cache is hidden (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

IDF Chief Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari on Tuesday said that the military's massive operation in Jenin could end faster than initially expected, even within a matter of days.

In an update early Tuesday, Hagari described how the operation had already achieved most of its goals and with less resistance or side complications than intelligence had estimated.

According to the IDF spokesperson, the military had preselected some dozens of targets to eliminate in terms of terror command centers and weapons and explosives storage areas.

IDF has '10 more targets' in Jenin

All but around 10 of those locations were already destroyed or neutralized on the first day of the operation, many within the first two hours in attacks by the air force.

All told, a mix of IDF drones have already destroyed 20 targets, while the IDF commandos, Maglan, paratroopers, regular Menashe infantry, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) forces have neutralized a variety of other targets, including a concealed hiding spot of a large cache of weapons under a mosque.

IDF Maglan special forces clash with armed Palestinian terrorists early on Monday morning as part of the Israeli military's operation in Jenin (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that there are a total of 10 Palestinians dead since the operation in Jenin started.

Pre-operation estimates were there were 150 specific wanted suspects in Jenin and an estimated total 300 potential combat fighters out of the population of 49,000.

Of those, around 120 have been arrested, though not all 120 were suspects and some have been released.

But one of the surprises for the IDF was that there have been under 10 gunbattles in Jenin as the operation enters its second day.

Whether because the IDF achieved complete surprise, because of fear of being targeted by drones or other considerations, most of the fighters in Jenin have chosen to hide, rather than confront the IDF. 

In that sense and if the fighters whose identities are unknown continue to hide, once the IDF has neutralized the remaining 10 targets and sought to find some more of the identified wanted suspects, there could be little for the IDF to do, other than leave its forces exposed and be hit with global criticism for dragging out the operation.

How the IDF uncovered a secret weapons cache under Jenin mosque

The IDF provided extensive details on Tuesday about its operation uncovering a wide variety of terror infrastructure in the Islamic Jihad-associated Al-Ansar Mosque in Jenin.

Already on Monday, there was fighting between IDF forces and Palestinians around and within parts of the mosque.

The IDF found hidden subterranean areas where explosives and weapons were located.

 A weapons installation hidden underneath a mosque in Jenin was neutralized by IDF soldiers, on July 4, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
A weapons installation hidden underneath a mosque in Jenin was neutralized by IDF soldiers, on July 4, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

However, on Tuesday, the IDF provided an extensive infographic detailing no less than 12 different terror-related items spread across multiple floors of the mosque and the nearby areas.

Besides several different hidden weapons locations, the mosque was also a command and control center specifically for Islamic Jihad.