Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Net-anyahu praised the security forces that took part in a deadly operation in the West Bank to arrest a Hamas terrorist.
The suspect and at least two others were killed in the raid in the Jenin refugee camp on March 22.
“Our policy is to attack those who attack us and who are planning to attack us. Both were applicable in this case,” Netanyahu said March 23 at the beginning of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting.
The suspected terrorist was identified as Hamza Abu Alhija, who was wanted for involvement in shooting and bombing attacks, as well as planning future terror attacks against Israeli civilians and Israeli soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Abu Alhija barricaded himself in his home with other Hamas operatives, according to the IDF, then opened fire on Israeli forces, wounding two, before attempting to escape while continuing to shoot. Israeli forces responded with live gunfire, killing him.
In the ensuing riot at the scene, Palestinians from Jenin threw rocks, firebombs and explosives at the Israeli forces. The Israelis responded, killing at least two other Palestinians identified as belonging to Islamic Jihad and al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of the ruling Fatah party.
Three Palestinian terrorist groups — Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade — issued a joint statement warning they would take revenge on Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the deaths.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ office condemned the incident, calling it an “escalation” by Israel. The statement also called on the United States to get involved before the teetering peace negotiations are completely “ruined.” — jta