Counterterrorism officer killed in clashes with Palestinians in Jenin

The IDF operated in Jenin on Friday morning to investigate the scene where Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed.

 Noam Raz, the YAMAM counterterrorism officer killed in Jenin on Friday, May 13, 2022 (photo credit: BORDER POLICE)
Noam Raz, the YAMAM counterterrorism officer killed in Jenin on Friday, May 13, 2022
(photo credit: BORDER POLICE)

A YAMAM counterterrorism officer was killed in clashes with Palestinian gunmen in Jenin on Friday. 

The officer, 47-year-old Sgt.-Maj. Noam Raz, was injured during clashes that lasted four hours and evacuated to Rambam hospital in Haifa by helicopter where he succumbed to his wounds.

Raz, from the community of Kida, enlisted in the military in 1999 and served for 23 years in the YAMAM counterterrorism unit as a fighter, paramedic and sniper, Israel Police said. Calling him a “brave, professional and humble soldier,” the police said that he “participated in hundreds of counterterrorism operations, endangered himself and saved lives.”

He is survived by his wife and six children.

A senior IDF officer told journalists he was shot in the back as forces were leaving the village under fire. 

“I’ve been through everything over the past 20 years, but there were thousands of bullets fired towards us and our vehicles this morning,” he said. “It was indescribable.”

People inspect the destroyed house of a Palestinian suspected terrorist following an Israeli raid, in Jenin, on May 13, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)People inspect the destroyed house of a Palestinian suspected terrorist following an Israeli raid, in Jenin, on May 13, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)

Forces entered the village of Burqin near Jenin in order to arrest Mahmoud al-Deb'i on Friday morning and clashed with armed Palestinians, injuring 13, including two seriously and five moderately. 

One of the seriously wounded was identified as Daoud Zubeidi, the brother of Palestinian security prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi. He was transferred to the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin for medical care and then to a hospital in Israel following a request from the Palestinians.

In response, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has sent out a rallying cry for all Palestinians to "take to the streets," according to Palestinian media. 

Israeli security forces consisting of troops from YAMAM, Border Police and Sayeret Golani encircled two homes, including the family home of al-Deb'i, and applied a “pressure” method to force him to surrender.

Though his home was some 300 meters from where al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on Wednesday, “it had nothing to do with her death. He was wanted and armed,” the senior officer said, adding that al-Deb’i was constantly firing on forces during the operation.

Also on Friday morning, a Palestinian man was shot by IDF forces near the Jewish community of Beit El on Route 60 after throwing a large block toward an Israeli vehicle and trying to open the driver’s door.

A knife and a Molotov cocktail were found in his possession. He was transferred to hospital for medical treatment in serious condition.

Elsewhere, the IDF arrested two Palestinian suspects in the early hours of Friday morning in the Kifl Haris village in the northern West Bank near the Jewish settlement of Ariel, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said.

Forces also confiscated weapons in Hebron. 

Tensions have been high between IDF troops and Palestinians as Israel attempts to crack down on terrorism in the West Bank following a spate of deadly attacks that claimed the lives of 19 people inside Israel in the past two months.

Some 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, either while committing attacks or during clashes. Several bystanders have also been killed, including Abu Akleh and a teenage girl who was returning home from studying.