December 8, 2023

Weapons seized during the counter-terrorism operation in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp near Jericho on February 6, 2023

Israeli security forces conducted an overnight operation to arrest the terrorist squad that carried out the shooting attack at a restaurant in the West Bank town of Jericho, five Palestinians have reportedly been killed in clashes.

The joint activity of the Israeli military (IDF) and the Shin Bet domectic security agency was carried out in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp near Jericho. A number of armed terrorists were killed after opening fire on Israeli forces, who carried out searches and arrests, according to the military’s statement.

“The purpose of the operation was to stop a Hamas terrorist cell that carried out the shooting attack on a restaurant in Jericho on January 28, 2023. During the attack, two terrorists armed with weapons and vests arrived at the entrance of the restaurant where about 30 diners were at the time, in order to carry out a mass murder spree. Due to a stoppage of weapons, the attackers fled towards Jericho, thus preventing an attack that would have resulted in many casualties,” the statement said.

Media reported that five Palestinians, including the two perpetrators of the restaurant attack, were killed during the operation. Israeli forces confirmed the neutralization of several terrorists.

“During the operation, a force from the Bekaa Levia Battalion identified a number of armed men and an exchange of fire developed on the spot. The force sought contact, managed to neutralize the terrorists and remove the threat. Some of the neutralized terrorists were involved in the attack at Almog junction. No casualties to our forces,” the statement said.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir congratulated the IDF forces, the Shin Bet and the special forces with “another precise and professional operation” against “despicable terrorists who tried to murder innocent civilians in a restaurant, just because they were Jews.”

“Proud of our fighters who got to their hiding place and eliminated them. A terrorist is a mortal and anyone who tries to harm the citizens of Israel knows that he will pay a heavy price for his activities and our security forces will reach him wherever he hides. The Israeli government will wage a stubborn and uncompromising war against terrorism and with God’s help we will bring security to the citizens of Israel,” Ben-Gvir said.

Last week there was another operation by the Shin Bet and the IDF in Jericho in an attempt to arrest the terrorists. Since then the efforts to locate the members of the squad have continued.

For the last 30 years Jericho has been known as the quietest city in the West Bank. However, Hamas claimed responsibility for the restaurant shooting attack, which indicates that the situation has changed and Jericho has become another stronghold of the terrorist organization posing threat to Israel. Hamas also issued a statement this morning confirming that the neutralized terrorists were “martyrs” as they call their members. Israeli forces, therefore, are expecting a response from the terrorist group.

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