Palestinians, Israeli forces get in firefight in Nablus

Five Israelis entered Joseph's Tomb without notifying the IDF and were consequently shot at by Palestinians.

 Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Dajan, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on June 3, 2022 (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Dajan, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on June 3, 2022
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

Two Palestinians were arrested by Israeli security forces near Nablus in the West Bank on Tuesday morning after an hours-long siege on a home.

For several hours, the security forces surrounded the house that the two suspects were in. The suspects were identified by the Border Police as Nabeel Sawalhi and Nihad Owais, who had been involved in several shootings, including in Shavei Shomron last week when a car was hit by bullets.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Israel Police’s Counterterrorism Unit (Yamam) unit and IDF troops surrounded the house and used a pressure-cooker method, including firing an anti-tank guided missile, to force the men to surrender.

One of the men’s fathers arrived at the scene and urged his son to turn himself in, according to reports in Hebrew-language media. Shortly after that, the men surrendered and were taken for interrogation by the Shin Bet. Soldiers searched the home and seized an M-16 rifle, a pistol, ammunition, pipe bombs and grenades.

“We have proven once again that there are no cities of refuge for terrorists in Judea and Samaria,” OC Samaria Regional Brigade Col. Roi Zweig said. “The operation ended with the two wanted men in our hands.  The IDF and the security forces will continue to act wherever and whenever necessary against wanted men who seek to harm us.”

 NEW STRATEGY long overdue: Palestinians clash with IDF forces near Joseph’s Tomb, in Nablus, April 13. (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90) NEW STRATEGY long overdue: Palestinians clash with IDF forces near Joseph’s Tomb, in Nablus, April 13. (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

A firefight broke out while soldiers were carrying out the operation, and violent riots broke out in several locations in the town, the IDF said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said four people near the home were injured by shrapnel, including one who was injured in the abdomen, one in the thigh and another in the hand. Another 24 were injured in the clashes. All were transferred to Rafidia Hospital.

No soldiers were hurt, the IDF said.

Earlier on Tuesday, five haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men were shot at by Palestinian gunmen when they entered Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus without prior coordination with the IDF. The men were eventually rescued by security forces. Their car was set on fire by Palestinians.

Earlier clashes between Palestinians and the IDF

Elsewhere in the West Bank, another 12 wanted Palestinians were arrested by Israeli security forces as part of Operation Break the Wave, which aims to arrest suspects involved in planning or carrying out attacks against Israelis and soldiers after a wave of terrorist attacks killed 20 people.

On Monday night, a firefight broke out in Jenin, after which the IDF detained Alaa Zakarneh, the leader of Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades. Eight Palestinians were injured during the operation, which took place in Kabatiya, near Jenin.

In an effort to end the current wave of violence, the IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police have been concentrating on the northern West Bank and have increased troop presence along the Seam Line, where Palestinians have illegally crossed into Israel through holes in the security fence.

The troop deployment, as well as the call-up of reserve forces, is expected to last into the coming year.

Since the beginning of Operation Break the Wave, hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested.

At least 85 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and Jerusalem this year by Israeli security forces, either while committing attacks or during clashes. According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, they had carried out attacks inside Israel or were members of terrorist groups, including 17 under the age of 18 and six women.

More than a dozen bystanders have also been killed, including a teenage girl who was returning home from studying, and Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was covering a raid in Jenin.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.