Palestinians claim victory as IDF pulls out of Jenin

The IDF destroyed a large part of the terror infrastructure Hamas and PIJ had built in Jenin and arrested about a third of their fighters.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

After the IDF declared that most of its anti-terror objectives were achieved and pulled out of Jenin Tuesday night, the Palestinians declared victory, saying they had forced the army out.

“The Jenin Battalion and its fighters bravely and heroically led this great victory, and the Palestinian people proved with their unity and rallying around the mujahideen (warriors) that they can defeat the enemy in every confrontation,” said the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)  Ziyad al-Nakhaleh in a statement.

Hamas joined in the congratulations as well.

“We congratulate the Jenin camp and its resistance for its victory over the Zionist enemy army. Once again, Jenin defeats the occupation army,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.

“We announced from the beginning that the occupation will fail to achieve its goals,” he added, saying that the Palestinian city “will remain a fortress of resistance and a thorn in the side of the occupation.”

Its Qatar-based head, Ismail Haniyeh, also claimed that the “resistance taught the enemy a harsh lesson and made it suffer heavy losses.” The IDF, he continued, was feeling “shame” at its “defeat,” and threatened that “The coming days will bring horror to Israel and force it to rethink its course, as it plans to act against our nation.”

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In contrast to the terrorists’ rhetoric, the IDF said it had killed 18 terrorists, captured 120, and had to fight only some 20 gun battles as the Palestinian fighters preferred to run from Jenin or hide rather than engage their enemy. The number of those detained was estimated at about a third of the combatants that PIJ and Hamas fielded in Jenin.

In terms of casualties, one Israeli soldier was killed and seven wounded in the two-day incursion, dubbed Operation Home and Garden.

An Israel Hayom reporter embedded with the troops wrote of the “silence” in the city, where not even a rock was being thrown at the soldiers. She contrasted the lack of resistance to the constant clashes with soldiers who have entered Jenin dozens of times over the past year on arrest raids, when Palestinians would regularly riot, shoot and throw explosives at them.

The army said it had dealt a severe blow to both the Hamas and PIJ terror infrastructure, aside from the active fighters it had successfully detained. This included the destruction of many improvised weapons factories, ammunition depots and command and control centers, and the seizure of hundreds of thousands of shekels. Thousands of grenades and hundreds of improvised explosive devices were found, including at least ten weighing 30 kilograms or more.

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The latter kind of device was set off some two weeks ago against an IDF force in Jenin, and lifted a heavy Panther APC into the air, injuring several soldiers. According to Ynet, the existence of these explosives was the main trigger in the decision to launch the operation on Monday.

The IDF turned several streets in Jenin into rubble due to its Intelligence knowing which were similarly booby-trapped. Both armored bulldozers and missiles shot from UAVs were used to blow them up so as to avoid a similar scenario being played out again.