At least three Palestinians, including two intelligence officers, were killed in an early morning Israeli raid in the West Bank-occupied city of Jenin.
At least three Palestinians, including two Palestinian Authority (PA) military intelligence officers, have been shot dead by Israeli forces in an earlier raid on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said on Thursday.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the two officers as 23-year-old Adham Yasser Alawi and 32-year-old Taisir Issa, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported, adding that the third victim was Jamil al-Amuri, who was imprisoned in Israeli prisons.
According to Wafa, another Palestinian officer, 23-year-old Muhammad al-Bazur, was seriously injured during an Israeli undercover mission and has been taken to an Israeli hospital.
An online video near the Associated Press showed Palestinian officials taking cover behind a vehicle as gunshots were heard in the background. One shouts that they are exchanging fire with Israeli “secret” forces.
Israeli media reported that al-Amuri was a former prisoner and member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but this has not yet been confirmed by the Palestinian authorities.
Reporting from the occupation of East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said the incident was “a covert operation in a civilian vehicle.”
“The understanding is that they (the Israeli military) were targeting at least one member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
“One man was killed in that operation, and another was wounded and taken away by Israeli forces. The man killed is believed to be a member of the PIJ,” Fawcett said.
According to reports, the second person who was taken away was a Palestinian man named Wissam Abu Zaid. He was reportedly arrested during the operation.
‘Dangerous Israeli tension’
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a “dangerous Israeli escalation”, saying all three were killed by Israeli special forces, who disguised themselves as Palestinians during the arrest raid.
The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaina, called on the international community and the United States to intervene to prevent such attacks.
There are conflicting reports about the details of the incident.
The Israeli military and police did not immediately respond to requests for comment. However, an Israeli official anonymously told Reuters news agency that Palestinian officials were killed in the shootout.
“Witnesses on the ground say Israeli forces also fired at members of Palestinian military intelligence – officers who were outside their own security building, near the scene,” Al Jazeera’s Fawcett said.
“Israeli media reports speak of Israelis firing in their direction, but whatever happened, it is known that two of them military intelligence officers were killed and a third seriously injured and as a result the Israelis was taken to a hospital.
“This is yet another example of Palestinian military intelligence officers being killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank,” he said.
Under interim peace agreements signed in the 1990s, the PA has limited autonomy in scattered enclaves that together make up about 40 percent of the occupied West Bank. Israel has security authority in the West Bank and conducts regular arrest raids in Palestinian cities and towns administered by the PA.
Under the Oslo Agreements of 1993, the PA is obliged to share information with Israel about any armed resistance, known as “security coordination”, which was carried out after Israel last year captured the occupied West Bank. The plan was later suspended for some time.
Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has criticized the PA for its so-called “security coordination”. The PA’s cooperation with the Israeli authorities has led to the arrest of several members of Hamas.
The Israeli military frequently conducts arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. On May 25, a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces during one such raid near Ramallah.
Palestinian media reported that, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Jenin, Israel deployed reinforcements to the northern entrance of the Palestinian city.
A funeral procession will be held for the three Palestinian men killed later on Thursday. A general strike has also been called in Palestinian cities.
The incident comes as a fragile peace was reached after the 11-day Israeli war that engulfed Gaza left more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, dead.
At least 12 people were killed in Israel in rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups.