The IDF late Monday took initial responsibility regarding the accidental killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot amid armed clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces in Jenin on Sunday night.
A statement said that an initial review of the issue found a "high probability" that Jana Zakarneh was killed by the accidental fire of IDF soldiers directed at Palestinian gunmen during the battle.
Further, the review found that the 16-year-old was likely on a roof nearby other rooves where gunmen were specifically firing on IDF soldiers who were doing their best to return fire in the midst of the "fog of battle."
The statement said that any claim that the IDF "deliberately aimed" at the girl is "groundless."
It added that the military "expresses sorrow at the death of any civilians, even those who are positioned in the middle of battle and rounds of firing from both sides."
At the same time, the IDF said it would not back down from its core mission of protecting Israel's civilians and rotting out terror. The particular operation led to arresting 18 terror suspects.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed condolences for the killing of the 16-year-old in a statement put out later on Monday evening. The prime minister reaffirmed that the IDF investigation is at a preliminary stage, adding that he trusts IDF soldiers and security establishment officials to continue doing everything possible to avoid causing harm to uninvolved civilians.
What happened exactly?
Armed clashes erupted after undercover Border Police officers entered Jenin and arrested three suspects, with Palestinian terrorists firing at the officers and throwing explosives at them. The officers, along with IDF soldiers, returned fire, hitting a number of the terrorists.
The Israeli forces seized an M-16 firearm used by the terrorists to fire at them. No Israeli personnel were injured.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Jenin Brigade announced that it was part of the clashes with the Israeli forces in the city.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported after the firefight that a 16-year-old girl named Jana Zakarneh was shot and killed while standing on rooftop of her home amid the fighting. Palestinian media blamed Israeli forces for killing her shortly after the death was announced.
Clashes come just days after three Palestinians killed in firefight in Jenin
The clashes come days after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the Jenin area on Thursday.
During the clashes on Thursday, Khalid al-Hija, a Palestinian suspected of terrorist activity, was arrested by the IDF and Border Police.
Just days before those clashes, Israeli forces arrested the son of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official Bassam al-Saadi, Yahya al-Saadi, in the city.
The arrest of Yahya al-Saadi, also a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, came just a day after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel and just days after Muhammad al-Saadi, a commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Jenin Brigade, was killed in armed clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin.