A combined IDF, National Counter Terror Unit and Shin Bet operation on Sunday led to the killing of three terrorists from a Jenin-based cell on their way to carrying out a terror attack.
IDF Chief Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari explained that the terror group drove on Route 60 toward Mevo Dotan, near Arabe Village.
Hagari said that the terror group would perpetrate a shooting attack along the lines of past episodes in which Meir Tamari was killed.
Further, he stated that the terror cell had been involved in previous attacks.
Next, he said it was necessary to note that Israel’s security forces did not hesitate to intercept the terrorist in broad daylight and succeeded at a surgical hit that did not impact any innocent Palestinian civilians.
He said this, especially in light of claims that the IDF is no longer acting in Jenin to give the Palestinian Authority more space to reassert its authority.
Further, Hagari said that security forces had expected that the terrorists would be fighting to the death since they were being intercepted in the middle of their operation and not at a safehouse by surprise, so there was less chance of taking them alive.
In addition, he said that the IDF did not consider using a drone in this case because the more surgical way to remove the threat was by using nearby forces on the ground.
Initial reports said two were killed, but later official reports said three died, including the cell leader, Naif Abu Sawiss, 26.
A joint statement by Israeli security forces said that the cell leader was taking orders from terror figures in Gaza, though Hagari said it was not 100% clear from which organization.
Social media posted videos of an extended gunfight between Israeli security forces and the terrorists.
The Shin Bet provided intelligence to the cooperating security forces to intercept the terrorist before they could leave the Jenin area.
Security forces found and seized an M-16 and ammunition inside the cell’s vehicle.
“I commend the security forces and the IDF for thwarting the terrorist cell that was planning an attack against Israeli civilians,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will continue to act against those who seek to harm us, wherever and whenever.”
This crackdown occurred 24 hours after a terror attack from Jenin-area terrorists shook Tel Aviv on Saturday night.