Five Israel Border Police officers were wounded by a grenade during clashes with Palestinian terrorists in Tulkarm on Thursday morning, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Border Police said in a joint statement.
Three of the officers were seriously wounded, while the remaining two sustained light to moderate wounds. They were evacuated to hospitals in Netanya and Kfar Saba, Channel 12 reported.
According to a preliminary IDF probe, the five were injured by their own grenade. The military said it was still unsure whether the projectile bounced back, or if Palestinian terrorists grabbed and threw the grenade back before it exploded.
Local branches of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror groups said they had targeted Israeli troops with gunfire and improvised explosives.
The IDF said it had hit an unidentified number of armed Palestinians during the gun battle.
“Our soldiers acted this morning with courage and determination to counter terrorism in Judea and Samaria,” Border Police head Yitzchak Brik said, wishing the injured “a full recovery and a speedy recovery.”
“We will continue to act as joint forces with the security agencies to counter terrorism and protect the citizens of Israel. Terrorists should know that those who try to harm our forces, we’ll get to him and close the account with him,” added Brik.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his accusation that the Islamic Republic of Iran is “encouraging and financing” the most recent surge in Palestinian terrorism.
“We see Iran as directly responsible for the terror wave in Judea and Samaria,” said Netanyahu, vowing that his government would “determinedly fight terror and defend Israeli citizens.”
The IDF also confirmed a separate exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen during an arrest raid in a nearby town.
“A short time ago, soldiers of the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion operating near Kfar Shufa in the Menashe Division neutralized two armed terrorists who had fired at an Israeli vehicle,” said the army.
“Following the reports of shots being fired at an Israeli vehicle, forces set up roadblocks in the area and identified a suspect vehicle. The soldiers engaged [the terrorists] and, after an exchange of fire, they were neutralized,” continued the statement on X (formerly Twitter).
An M-16 assault rifle and ammunition were found in the vehicle, the military claimed. The slain terrorists were identified by the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry as Abed Al-Rahman Fares, 23, and Huthaifa Fares, 27.
Uptick in incidents in Judea and Samaria
Early on Thursday morning, Arabs attacked Israeli troops securing Jewish worshippers during the monthly pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (Shechem). Rioters reportedly set tires on fire, hurled rocks and threw explosives at soldiers.
Hebrew media cited the Palestinian Red Crescent as saying that one of the rioters suffered a head injury from a tear gas grenade.
The incidents come amid an uptick in Palestinian terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria.
On Wednesday, an Israeli family narrowly survived a terrorist ambush near Ma’ale Levona in southern Samaria, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The family was reportedly driving home when their car was forced to stop due to large stones blocking the entry road to the community.
Palestinian terrorists then swarmed the vehicle and pelted it with stones, forcing the father to open fire with his personal sidearm.
Hours earlier, an Israeli child was lightly wounded when Palestinians stoned Israeli vehicles on a road in the area of Huwara, according to Israel’s Army Radio. The 3-year-old girl was treated on the scene by IDF medics in the area and did not require evacuation to a hospital.