Israeli forces surround terrorist commander’s hideout, eliminate him in shootout

Commander of the Tulkarem Brigade Amir Abu Khadijah had carried out several shooting attacks against soldiers and Jewish villages.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israeli security forces eliminated early Thursday morning a terrorist known in the Palestinian Authority as the “Commander of the Tulkarem Brigade” after he opened fire on them.

Amir Abu Khadijah, 25, had established the local terror cell after leaving the Jenin Brigade at the end of last year.

Palestinian Authority media outlets reported that his group was linked to the Lions’ Den terrorist group based in Nablus (Shechem).

The Shabak fingered Khadijah as the perpetrator of numerous shooting attacks on Jewish villages in Samaria and soldiers manning the Te’enim crossing.

After receiving intelligence reports that Khadijah was hiding out in an apartment in a village near Tulkarem, soldiers from an undercover unit and Border Police surrounded the building. He drew a weapon and tried to fire at the forces from a window, but was seen immediately and wounded.

When the soldiers entered the apartment to arrest him, Khadijah tried shooting them again and was then killed.

A principal accomplice who was with the terrorist then surrendered to the forces and was turned over to the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) for questioning. An M16 rifle and other weapons were found and confiscated on site, as was the car he had used in his attacks.

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Thursday marked the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period that in recent years has seen a sharp rise in Palestinian violence in Israel.

Late Wednesday night, terrorists carried out a shooting attack at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Adam in the Benjamin region, just north of Jerusalem. No one was hurt in the incident but the car was damaged.

Bahazit News reported by Thursday noontime that the elite military Duvdevan unit had found and arrested the two Palestinians suspected of the shooting. A third terrorist was eliminated during the operation when he endangered the soldiers’ lives.

Ynet reported Thursday that in a special operation designed to prevent such attacks, over the last few months the IDF has arrested some 500 Palestinian Arabs, most of whom are suspected of directing or inciting terrorism.

In addition, the Judea and Samaria Division has been drilling responses to various terror scenarios, and has been bulked up with reinforcements for this period.

There are currently 20 battalions spread throughout the region, with eight of them deployed on the seam line itself to prevent the infiltration of terrorists.