JENIN: An Israeli soldier and two Palestinians were killed in pre-dawn clashes on Wednesday near Jenin in the occupied West Bank, an area hit by waves of recent deadly unrest.

Israel’s army said a major “was killed overnight during operational activity adjacent to the Gilboa Crossing during an exchange of fire with Palestinian terrorists”.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed “the martyrdom of the two young men” in clashes near the checkpoint, which is known to Palestinians as Jalameh, north of the militant stronghold of Jenin.

The Palestinians killed were named as Ahmed Ayman Ibrahim Abed, 23, and Abdul Rahman Hani Subhi Abed, 22, originally from the village of Kufr Dan outside Jenin, by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

A Palestinian security source confirmed that Ahmed Abed was a serving intelligence officer of the Palestinian security services in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. The Israeli army named the slain soldier as Major Bar Falah, 30, from Netanya.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid hailed him as “a dedicated soldier who fought terror and led his troops until his last hour”. “The operation in which he was killed thwarted a major terrorist attack and saved lives,” he said in a statement.

Israel’s armed forces chief Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi extended “his deepest, deepest condolences” to the slain soldier’s family and girlfriend, adding that “we will embrace them”. The Palestinian armed groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both lauded the Israeli soldier’s death, but neither confirmed that its fighters were involved in the gun battle.

A Hamas spokesperson praised the “heroic operation that was carried out by the resistance fighters”.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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