June 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two Senior Islamic Jihad Gunmen Killed in IDF Counterterrorism Operation

June 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two Senior Islamic Jihad Gunmen Killed in IDF Counterterrorism Operation

Latest Developments

Israeli commandos exchanged fire and killed “two senior terrorists” barricaded in a building during a counterterrorism operation in the northern West Bank city of Qabatiya on June 13, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The two gunmen, identified as Muhammed Shalabi and Muhammed Fayyad, were members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s branch in Jenin. Three Palestinian deaths have been reported, while one IDF soldier was lightly wounded in the operation.

Israeli forces launched the raid based on intelligence provided by the Aman and the Shin Bet intelligence agencies. During the operation, “fighters engaged in an exchange of fire with the wanted persons that included firing shoulder-fired missiles at the building,” the IDF said. IDF engineering forces also uncovered buried IEDs that were intended to harm troops. 

Expert Analysis

“Israeli counterterrorism operations against Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank are necessary to contain the threat but are not sufficient to reduce it, let alone defeat these groups. With robust smuggling networks that continue to provide weapons, improved infrastructure, and no dearth of recruits, the threat posed by Palestinian groups based in the West Bank is increasing even as Israeli forces conduct counterterrorism operations regularly. Israeli forces are merely mowing the grass in the West Bank, and this is not sustainable.” Bill Roggio, Senior Fellow and Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal

“It has been three years since the surge of violence in the West Bank began, and despite their success in dismantling terrorist infrastructure, Israeli forces have been conducting near-daily counterterrorism raids against Palestinian terrorist groups. However, the latter continue to operate and improve their military capabilities, casting some doubt on the effectiveness of the current Israeli approach. As a result, Israel may need to reconsider its strategy to shift the momentum in its favor.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Iran is Smuggling Weapons to the West Bank

The New York Times reported on April 9 that Iran is employing a clandestine network of operatives to smuggle weapons into the West Bank. Unnamed high-ranking officials from Iran, the United States, and Israel said that Tehran has established supply routes crisscrossing the Middle East. Two primary routes, it is alleged, run from Syria and Jordan and the other through Syria and Lebanon.

In Jordan, Iranian operatives transfer weapons to Bedouin smugglers, who then transport the caches to criminal gangs operating along the Israeli border. The more perilous route involves smugglers navigating Israel’s heavily fortified northern border, where they must evade detection to deliver the weapons to the West Bank.

Iranian officials revealed that Tehran’s primary objective is to stoke unrest against Israel, the Times reported. When confronted about this allegation, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, countered that “Palestinian resistance forces possess the capability to manufacture and acquire the necessary arms and ammunition for their struggle.”

The West Bank: A 3-year crisis led by Palestinian terrorist groups,” by Joe Truzman

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

Iran Floods West Bank with Weapons,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Jihadism