A Hamas spokesman denounced what he called Israeli “aggression against our people” but stopped short of threatening to fire rockets.
By Pesach Benson, TPS
Israel is on high alert along the Gaza border amid concerns that Hamas will escalate tensions from heavy clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terror groups in Shechem (Nablus) on Wednesday.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that soldiers entered Shechem looking to arrest Husam Isleem and Muhammed al-Junaidi, who barricaded themselves inside a house.
Residents of the city were called to join the fighting in social media messages and announcements from local mosques. Footage posted on social media included the sounds of explosions and gunfire.
The Palestinian Authority claimed that 10 people, including Isleem and Junaidi, were killed, and 90 more were injured in the violence. Among the injured were six terrorists who the IDF said were in serious condition.
Palestinian media reports from Gaza say that Hamas is under unprecedented pressure from other armed groups to respond to the violence. A Hamas spokesman denounced what he called Israeli “aggression against our people” but stopped short of threatening to fire rockets.
Senior military officials said Israel is prepared to respond in Gaza to any attacks from the Strip.
Isleem, who was affiliated with the Lion’s Den terror group, and Junaidi, who was affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), have been linked to a terror cell responsible for killing IDF Staff-Sgt. Ido Baruch. The 21-year-old soldier was killed in a drive-by shooting in northern Samaria in October.
Other Palestinians who Israeli security forces identified as killed included Muhammad Abu Bakr, a leader of the PIJ-aligned al-Quds Brigades, Musab Awais, a leader of another terror group known as the Balata Brigade, Muhammad a-Fatah of PIJ and Walid Dahil of the Lions’ Den.
A military spokesperson said no Israeli personnel were injured.
In an ongoing sweep against terror in Judea and Samaria, the Israel Defense Forces have thwarted 500 terror attacks and arrested more than 2,500 suspects. Operation Wave Breaker was launched following a surge of Palestinian terror attacks in the spring of 2022 which killed 19 people.
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