Two would-be terrorists were injured in Jenin on Monday night when a car-bomb being prepared for an attack in Israel detonated prematurely, according to Israeli and Palestinian media reports.
A preliminary Israel Defense Forces probe found that the bomb, which was designed to be remotely detonated via a cellular phone, was unintentionally activated during its preparation, according to Kan News.
Late last month, Israeli security forces conducted a large-scale daytime counter-terrorism operation in Jenin, acting on intelligence regarding an imminent major terror attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
During his visit last week to Israel and Ramallah, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to put into action an American security plan aimed at reasserting P.A. control over the cities of Jenin and Nablus in Samaria.
“Blinken stressed that one of the most important steps the P.A. needs to take in order to de-escalate the security situation is to accept and implement a security plan that was drafted by U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Michael Fenzel,” the Axios news site reported, citing American and Israeli officials.
Jenin and Nablus have become “centers of unrest,” as control has slipped from the P.A.’s grasp and terrorist groups associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have stepped in.
Fenzel’s plan sets out how P.A. security forces can retake control over Samaria, or the northern West Bank, including the training and deployment of a special Palestinian force to counter the “militias,” officials told the website.
For his part, Abbas told CIA Director William Burns in Ramallah last week that security cooperation with Israel will be restored. The P.A. chief had announced on Jan. 26 the end of security cooperation following the IDF raid in Jenin in which nine people were killed during fierce clashes.
In his meeting with Burns, Abbas reportedly relayed a four-part message: 1) Intelligence cooperation with Israel continues; 2) The P.A. will continue to work to prevent acts of terror; 3) Security cooperation with Israel will be renewed to calm tensions; and 4) that he cannot condemn the recent deadly Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem as doing so would be “political suicide.”
Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Sunday night arrested the terrorist cell responsible for an attempted mass shooting at a restaurant near Jericho last month.
Israeli troops came under fire during the raid in Aqbat Jaber, a refugee camp just south of Jericho, and returned fire, killing an unspecified number of gunmen.
The IDF said on Monday that it would “continue to act to thwart any attempt by terrorist organizations and operatives, wherever they may be, to promote terrorist activity against the State of Israel, its citizens and residents.”