December 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Conducts Counterterrorism Raid in Northern West Bank

December 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Conducts Counterterrorism Raid in Northern West Bank

Latest Developments

Israeli forces arrested three wanted Palestinian terrorists and seized dozens of weapons in an overnight counterterrorism raid, the Israeli military said on December 27. The operation unfolded in the Nur Shams refugee camp near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. During the clashes, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted a drone strike, killing six Palestinians whom it accused of throwing explosives at Israeli troops. The IDF also reported uncovering and destroying explosive devices hidden under and on the side of roads in the area.

Expert Analysis

“While Israel has focused its attention on destroying Hamas and its allies in Gaza, Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank persist in their attacks. If Israel’s goal is to fully eliminate Hamas from operating on its borders, it will inevitably need to dismantle the group and its partners in the West Bank.”Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“Terrorist groups in the West Bank have sought to take advantage of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza to increase local threats. Israel has been waging an increasingly complex campaign against West Bank-based terrorist groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, for more than a year. It’s important that these threats continue to be confronted so that Hamas cannot lose ground in Gaza only to increase its power elsewhere.” Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Tulkarem Is a Hotbed for Terrorism

Terrorist groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have long-established strongholds in northern West Bank cities such as Jenin and Nablus. But increasingly, these groups are appearing in other northern West Bank cities such as Tulkarem. On December 26, the IDF said it seized makeshift rockets, explosives, and other weapons in nearby Nur Shams. During the operation, Palestinian gunmen injured one Israeli soldier.

On October 5, an improvised explosive device wounded five Israeli border police officers as they carried out a counterterrorism operation in Tulkarem. Separately, on the same day, Israeli forces killed two Hamas gunmen responsible for shooting at an Israeli vehicle near Tulkarem.

Iran’s Investment in West Bank Terror

Beginning in 2021, Iran has provided financial support, technical expertise, and weapons to its proxy organizations operating in the West Bank. In a newspaper interview published on July 1, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general, revealed that the group had successfully established “combat battalions in every West Bank Palestinian city” with Tehran’s assistance. On April 18, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami hinted at Tehran’s  role, saying that “invisible hands” are arming Palestinian terrorist organizations in the West Bank.

Israeli Authorities Foil Weapons Shipment from Turkey to West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief

West Bank Terrorist Infrastructure Uncovered,” FDD Flash Brief

West Bank Terror Tunnel Shafts Uncovered by IDF,” FDD Flash Brief

Support for Hamas Surges in the West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief


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