IDF soldiers arrested 25 Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Judea and Samaria over the past several days, the military revealed on Thursday.
The arrests were part of “Operation Shield and Arrow” launched against PIJ in the Gaza Strip.
Several of those detained had been recruited by Tarek Azaldin, a senior PIJ operative who was killed in a targeted Israel Air Force strike in Gaza on Tuesday morning, the military said.
Azaldin had moved up the ranks of the organization in recent years and was entrusted with coordinating PIJ’s terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria as well as transferring funds from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, according to the IDF.
He recently planned and directed multiple attacks against Israeli civilians, the military said. He was also in charge of distributing the group’s propaganda in Israel to encourage terrorist attacks on civilians.
Azaldin had been incarcerated in Israel on a 25-year sentence due to his involvement in suicide and IED (improvised explosive device) attacks in the early 2000s. He was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.
He originally came from A’arbe in Samaria.
Since the fighting began on Tuesday, PIJ has fired more than 550 rockets towards Israel, to which the IDF has responded with over 150 strikes against terror assets in Gaza.