July 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Claims Responsibility for Fatal West Bank Bombing

July 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Claims Responsibility for Fatal West Bank Bombing

Latest Developments

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization claimed responsibility for a deadly roadside bomb attack in the West Bank on July 1 in which one Israeli officer was killed and another was seriously wounded. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Sgt. First Class (res.) Yehuda Geto, 22, was participating in a counterterrorism operation in the Nur Shams camp near the city of Tulkarem. An initial IDF investigation revealed that a Panther armored personnel carrier (APC) had been at a staging point, where improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were not initially believed to have been planted. However, after soldiers had exited from the vehicle, leaving two members of the unit inside, an IED detonated, severely damaging the carrier, killing Geto, and wounding a commando from the IDF’s Duvdevan unit, which carries out undercover operations in urban areas.

The bombing was the second recent attack by one of Islamic Jihad’s West Bank branches that resulted in an IDF fatality. On June 27, IDF sniper team commander, Capt. Alon Sagciu, 22, was killed and 16 troops were wounded in an Islamic Jihad roadside bombing in the West Bank city of Jenin.

That attack occurred during an overnight IDF raid in Jenin aimed at flushing out or killing Hamas terrorists in the city.

Expert Analysis

“The death of an Israeli soldier in a roadside bomb attack on an IDF vehicle in the Nur Shams refugee camp represents a dangerous new escalation by terrorist groups in the West Bank. Terrorist groups are increasingly seeking to exploit the power vacuum in the northern West Bank and areas such as Nur Shams in the city of Tulkarem. This terrorist entrenchment threatens to expand unless the IDF is able to contain and eliminate it.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow 

“It’s time to acknowledge that West Bank Palestinian terrorist groups are growing more sophisticated in their attacks and have become a persistent threat to Israeli troops and civilians. Furthermore, IEDs have become a significant problem as the know-how to build them and their manufacturing capacity have increased. Given the current situation, Israel’s existing strategy is not resolving the violence. Alternative tactics are required to reverse the downward trajectory of the West Bank.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Islamic Jihad Commander Eliminated in Nur Shams

On June 30, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike in Nur Shams, killing Saeed Jaber, an Islamic Jihad commander belonging to the organization’s West Bank Tulkarem branch. The IDF and Shin Bet said Jaber was responsible for numerous attacks on Israeli troops and civilians. An IDF source told The Times of Israel that Jaber was second in command of PIJ’s Tulkarem branch.

The site targeted by the Israeli military was a home used by Jaber and two other Islamic Jihad terrorists responsible for carrying out shooting attacks on the West Bank barrier and the Israeli community of Bat Hefer. The pair are also linked to the murder of Amnon Muchtar, a 67-year-old Israeli civilian from Petach Tikva, in the West Bank city of Qalqilya on June 20.

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

IDF Captain Killed, 16 Soldiers Wounded in IED Attacks in Jenin,” FDD Flash Brief

Senior members of Islamic Jihad’s branch in Jenin killed in a counterterrorism operation,” by Joe Truzman

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

Issues:

Israel Israel at War Jihadism Palestinian Politics