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Israeli defense minister holds assessment with brass following Jenin battle

Yoav Gallant convened the heads of the IDF, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence Directorate after clashes with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, Dec. 29, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, Dec. 29, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant held an assessment with military and security officials after IDF troops killed nine Palestinians in Jenin on Thursday morning, the Defense Ministry told JNS.

He was briefed on the security situation in the various arenas and instructed the IDF and defense establishment to increase readiness in the face of possible developments.

“The State of Israel will continue to operate in any place and at any time against anyone who aims to harm the citizens of Israel. Our security forces are prepared for any development in the various arenas,” said Gallant.

Gallant met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva and Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit.

Nine Palestinians were killed during heavy clashes between gunmen and Israeli troops in Jenin on Thursday morning.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that troops were attacked while attempting to detain Palestinian Islamic Jihad members planning a major terrorist strike.

“During an attempt to arrest them, the wanted men opened fire and were killed in an exchange of fire,” said the IDF. “Three members of the PIJ cell were killed and a fourth was arrested. The wanted men, PIJ operatives, have been involved in recent extensive terror activity and are suspected of carrying out several shooting attacks against IDF units and planning other significant attacks.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced three days of mourning over the nine deaths. A one-day general strike was also declared by the P.A. Thursday in a show of mourning, the official Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi said that “the resistance is everywhere and ready and willing for the next confrontation.” Saleh al-Arouri, deputy leader of Hamas, said Israel “will pay the price for the Jenin massacre. Our resistance will not break, and our response will come soon.”

Tor Wennesland, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, said he was “deeply alarmed and saddened” by the deaths of the nine Palestinians.

“Since the beginning of this year, we are continuing to witness high levels of violence and other negative trends that characterized 2022. It is crucial to reduce tensions immediately and prevent more loss of life,” he said.

“I urge, and remain actively engaged with, Israeli and Palestinian authorities to de-escalate tensions, restore calm, and avoid further conflict,” Wennesland added.

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