Troops kill 7 Palestinians in W. Bank, Gaza

2 killed as terror attack foiled along Gaza border; Jenin: Undercover troops kill Islamic Jihad leader.

raid nablus 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
raid nablus 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Tensions mounted along the Gaza security fence over the weekend, as IDF troops shot and killed four terrorists, including two who managed to cross the barrier and enter Israel. Five IDF soldiers were also wounded in two attacks - one by the infiltrators and another four when an explosive device was detonated near the vehicle in which they were patrolling. Palestinian terrorists wearing IDF uniforms infiltrated Israel from the northern Gaza Strip early Saturday morning. According to the IDF, the terrorists scaled the security wall with ropes under the cover of the early morning fog south of Moshav Netiv Ha'asara. Initial probes revealed that the terrorists proceeded east to the Erez checkpoint, where they opened fire with automatic rifles at the district coordinating office there. One soldier was lightly wounded in the initial gunfire and was evacuated to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital for treatment. Soldiers from the Golani Brigade's 12th Battalion who were scrambled to the scene engaged the terrorists in a close-range gun battle and killed two infiltrators. On searching the bodies, soldiers discovered that the infiltrators were armed to the teeth with guns, hand grenades and possibly also bomb belts. After the gun battle, Palestinian terror groups issued a joint statement in which a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the terrorists were trying to target either civilians or soldiers in the area of Netiv Ha'asara. The statement also claimed that three gunmen participated in the operation and, as a result, the IDF and other security forces continued to carry out searches throughout the area for hours after the initial infiltration. Roads were closed, as were the entrances to neighboring communities, but the security forces did not find any additional infiltrators. A spokesman for the PFLP said that one of the terrorists was a member of their organization, and that the second was a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). A DFLP spokesman, however, said that the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades was also involved in the attack. Hours after the attack, four IDF soldiers were wounded when an explosive device was detonated on the road that runs parallel to the Gaza security fence, near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. The four soldiers were all evacuated in good condition to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center. Just a day earlier, IDF soldiers, also from the Golani Brigade, killed two gunmen who fired at soldiers on the Israeli side of the Gaza border from across the fence. In response, the troops crossed the fence and, according to the IDF account, shot the gunmen after a brief pursuit. Also on Saturday afternoon, a Kassam rocket hit Sderot. No casualties were reported in the attack, but the rocket destroyed a parked car. In recent weeks, there have been many attempts to launch assaults on IDF troops - and civilians - from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Eleven days ago, IDF troops discovered a tunnel hidden under Gazan tomato greenhouses heading toward the Erez checkpoint. In the West Bank, an Israeli-Arab child was killed in crossfire as security forces killed at least two Islamic Jihad operatives during weekend operations. Eleven-year-old Mahmoud Ibrahim Karnawi was shot in an exchange of gunfire between security forces and wanted Islamic Jihad operatives in Kfar Saida, northeast of Tulkarm on Friday afternoon. IDF troops and elite Border Police units had entered the village to arrest fugitives, including Karnawi's older half-brother, a known Islamic Jihad operative. According to troops, they came under fire as they approached the family's home, initiating a gunbattle that left both Karnawi and his older half-brother dead. A second wanted Islamic Jihad operative, Mustafa Atik, 24, was fatally wounded and died a short while later. The Islamic Jihad suspects were found wearing flak jackets and carrying AK-47s. The IDF said that both of the adults killed in the operation were members of the northern Samaria branch of Islamic Jihad, and were active in planning attacks against IDF troops. A border policeman was hit by shrapnel during the fight, and was treated on the scene. There are conflicting reports as to whether the boy was in the house or outside of it when the battle erupted, and the IDF said that it was still unclear whether the boy was hit by IDF fire. Karnawi had accompanied his mother from Rahat to Kfar Saida to visit his mother's family in the West Bank village. His mother, a Palestinian, had two sons from a previous marriage, one of whom was the Islamic Jihad operative killed during the gunbattle. She remarried 14 years ago to Karnawi's father, an 80-year-old Rahat resident and a member of one of the Negev Beduin city's most respected families. Overnight Friday, Islamic Jihad commander Ala'a Salah Muhammad Abu Sror, the terror organization's chief in Jenin was killed in a joint operation by the IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police. Troops operating in the city identified a suspicious vehicle in which, they discovered, three armed terrorists were traveling. The IDF said that the troops opened fire in the direction of the vehicle, and one of the terrorists - Abu Sror - was killed. Another two Islamic Jihad operatives were also wounded in the operation. Upon searching the vehicle, security forces discovered an AK-47 and an M-16. Abu Sror, 30, was suspected of planning numerous terror attacks including bombings, as well as being behind the establishment of an explosives laboratory in the northern Samaria city. Jenin is considered to be a hotbed of Islamic Jihad activity, with local cells responsible for carrying out many of the most serious terror attacks in the past two years, including the attack last month at the "Einav" checkpoint, east of Tulkarm.