Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday it was investigating an officer’s decision to arrest and attempt to arrest two Palestinian gunmen early Wednesday morning before a deadly gun battle in which he was killed.
The officer, Major Bar Falah, 30, deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit, was killed in a clash over a West Bank security barrier near the Palestinian village of Jalmah. Falah was buried in Netanya on Wednesday evening.
According to the IDF’s preliminary investigation into the incident, the two gunmen were identified at around 11:40 pm on Tuesday by soldiers operating surveillance cameras, about 15-20 meters from a military post in the so-called seam zone between the west coast. is at a distance. And Israel justified.
Two soldiers stationed in the area began the process of arrest, which involved shouting at the suspects, firing in the air and hurling stun grenades at them.
However, according to preliminary investigation, the soldiers did not know that the couple were armed.
After this both were seen fleeing from Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, Colonel Eric Moyal, the commander of the IDF’s Menache Brigade, was sent to the scene along with Falah and his soldiers.
Around 1:20 p.m. the pair were re-identified, and Falah’s team crawled behind them, trying to catch them.
At 2:15 am, two gunmen opened fire on the jawans who were a few meters away. According to the investigation, Falah was killed and seriously injured, but still managed to fire several shots before dying.
Two gunmen, one of whom was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services, were killed in the subsequent firefight. According to the IDF, the pair were armed with a Carlo makeshift submachine gun and another temporary semi-automatic weapon.
Palestinian media named the gunmen as Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed, who were from the village of Kafr Dan near Jenin. Ahmed was an officer in the PA Security Services.
The army suspects that the two were planning an ambush on soldiers stationed at a nearby post, and waited after the first to find out to find a more opportune moment to attack.
According to military officials, an armed drone was sent to the scene after it was first identified, but it was not used because the military did not immediately recognize that both suspects were armed.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz meanwhile ordered the closure of Jalama and Salem checkpoints, as well as withholding entry permits into Israel for residents of Kafr Dan, the hometown of the two Palestinian gunmen, all until further notice.
“We will continue to take rapid action, wherever necessary, to stop terrorism when it is necessary,” Gantz said while visiting the scene in the North West Bank.
“And I repeat, where the PA will not exercise sovereignty, we will take care of our own security,” Gantz said, according to remarks provided by his office.
The fatal incident happened less than 24 hours ago near the scene of another shootout attack. A fire broke out in an engineering vehicle of the Ministry of Defense working on the side of the security barrier in the same area on Tuesday morning. There were no casualties, but the vehicle was damaged.
Tensions have risen in the region in recent weeks as Israeli forces intensified arrest raids and other counter-terrorism efforts, which Palestinians say have come under fire.
A senior Israeli official told reporters in Germany on Monday with Prime Minister Yair Lapid that Israel is “tightening IDF operations in places like Genin and Nablus.”
In June, the Defense Ministry began upgrading a section of the barrier in the northern West Bank after a series of deadly terror attacks by Palestinians who had illegally entered Israel earlier in the year.
During night raids in the West Bank, the Israeli army has been repeatedly hit by gunfire. The military launched the operation after a series of deadly attacks between mid-March and early May that killed 19 people.
Jalama is located near a security barrier just north of Jenin, where several attacks were launched earlier in the year and where the IDF focused most of its counter-terrorism operations.
According to the Shin Bet security agency, more than 2,000 suspects have been detained since the beginning of the year.
The IDF said troops arrested seven wanted Palestinians and seized a number of weapons in raids in the West Bank early Wednesday, sparking violent incidents in some areas.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.