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Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in Jenin ambush

Eyewitnesses tell Middle East Eye that Israeli special forces in a bus blocked a vehicle carrying the men and started firing
Men gather at the scene of the shooting in the early hours of the morning of 2 April, 2022 (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
By Shatha Hammad in Jenin, occupied Palestine

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians before dawn on Saturday during an ambush in Jenin city, in the north of the occupied West Bank.

A white bus blocked a vehicle carrying the three men at 2am local time near the junction of Arraba village, southwest of Jenin, and close to the Dotan Israeli checkpoint, an eyewitness told Middle East Eye.

Israeli special forces then came out of the bus and started firing at the three men, the eyewitness, who preferred not to be named, said.

The three men were Saeb Abahra, 30, Khalil Tawalbeh, 24, and Saif Abu Libda, 25.

All three were members of al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

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Their bodies were withheld by the army after the operation, which lasted for about an hour.

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Israeli security forces claimed the Palestinians opened fire at them when they attempted to arrest them, which prompted a gunfight.

​​Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, and one is in a critical condition.

Immediately after the firing started, a large number of Israeli army reinforcements arrived at the scene, according to the eyewitness.

He added that he saw a lot of blood on the windshield and inside the car, which was confiscated by the army.

He also added that Israeli soldiers did not provide medical aid to the three men.

The Palestinian Red Crescent also said the army prevented its ambulances from approaching the location of the incident.

A second witness from the nearby village of Araba told MEE that he heard heavy gunfire in the area, so he and a group of villagers went to the scene, and found dozens of Israeli soldiers there using civilian vehicles.

He added that the soldiers did not allow them to advance, and fired bullets at the residents, directing lasers at them to prevent them from approaching.

Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, denounced the operation as a show of force by the Israeli army, which, he said, committed two crimes: assassinating the three Palestinians, then denying them medical aid.

"Where is the International Red Cross and where are the international human rights institutions working in Palestine regarding the crimes committed by the occupation army against us,” Adnan told MEE.

"The Israeli political level will pay the price for the blood of the Palestinian martyrs," he added.

The al-Quds Brigades said in a statement that they “mourn the death of our three hero fighters," adding that two of them were from Jenin and one from Tulkarem.

A trainer left at the scene of the shooting near Jenin on 2 April, 2022 (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
A trainer left at the scene of the shooting near Jenin on 2 April, 2022 (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Late on Friday, Palestinian fighters staged a military parade in Jenin Refugee camp to mark the 20th anniversary of the Israeli army operation in the camp during the second Intifada, which became an important symbol of Israel's oppression and Palestinian resistance.

Since last year, Jenin has witnessed a resurgence of armed resistance. Israel and the Palestine Authority (PA) have been trying for months to arrest 25 to 30 suspects known to them.

On Thursday, Israeli troops raided Jenin in an attempt to make some arrests but were pushed back by Palestinian fighters.

Two Palestinian civilians protesting the raid were shot and killed by Israeli troops.

The killings on Saturday come as Israel raises its level of alert to the highest it has been since May last year following three recent attacks that have left 11 Israelis dead.

They also come on the first day of Ramadan, a month which many fear will see further strife, amid plans by Israeli settlers to storm al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

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