The funeral procession of 16-year-old Omar Awadin, who was killed in Thursday’s undercover Israeli raid in Jenin. (Photo credit: Nabad Nablus/Telegram)
An undercover Israeli special forces unit infiltrated downtown Jenin in the occupied West Bank and killed four Palestinians on 16 March, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The four have been identified as 29-year-old Youssef Shreim, 28-year-old Nidal Khazem, 37-year-old Louay al-Zugheir, and 16-year-old Omar Awadin. Shreim, Khazem, and Zugheir have been claimed as members of the resistance.
Shreim was a commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, Khazem was a commander of the Jenin Brigade of the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement, and Zugheir was a fighter in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
The undercover Israeli force “surreptitiously snuck into the city center of Jenin on board two civilian vehicles during the busy hours of the day, before they assassinated the four Palestinians at point blank range,” according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.
Following the assassinations, the special forces unit were caught on camera running out of the area and hopping into an armored Israeli vehicle as gunshots rang in the vicinity. Shortly afterward, an Israeli army force raided the area, resulting in heavy clashes.
The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the injury of around 20 Palestinians as a result, including four who are in critical condition.
In a statement, the Hamas resistance movement said: “We mourn the martyrs of Jenin and affirm that the occupation will pay dearly for its crimes … The cowardly assassination of two leaders of the resistance will not go unpunished.”
The assassinations come just a day after a violent Israeli military raid near Nablus’ Balata village, which was carried out in protection of settlers who were being escorted by the troops to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site. The Lions’ Den resistance faction confronted the Israeli troops with gunfire and targeted their infantry force and military vehicles with explosive devices, resulting in injuries among their ranks.
This comes as the West Bank resistance is spreading exponentially and posing an increased threat to Israeli troops, particularly in Jenin, which has become a significant bastion of an armed struggle recently.
“The army is determined to eliminate the Islamic Jihad … in the northern West Bank, which is trying to spread its groups to the south of the West Bank and the center, and the recent assassination operations are highly effective,” Israeli military radio quoted security sources as saying.
Thursday’s assassinations have brought the number of Palestinians killed by Israel since the start of the year up to 88.