The extensive Israel Defense Forces operation focused on Jenin is designed to reverse the trend in which this Palestinian city and parts of Samaria became a safe haven for, and hornet’s nest of, terrorism.
PIJ has also transferred millions to operatives there. These are joined by local terror factions.
PIJ headquarters in Gaza and Syria invest significant efforts and funds in Jenin, flooding it with weapons and training, with the goal of targeting both the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians.
Monday’s operation, which involves roughly a brigade-sized ground force, much of it comprising commando units, backed by air power, began with a drone strike at 1:14 a.m. on Monday on a command center in Jenin Camp used by the “Jenin Battalion.” This is the umbrella name for local terror factions that are receiving arms and backing from PIJ, Hamas and, to some degree, Iran.
Three minutes after the opening airstrike, the IDF began moving its ground forces into the Jenin Camp. In the following hour, the IDF struck from the air an additional five times, with some of the strikes directed to open spaces to divert terrorists and allow the free movement of IDF units.
This need for air power is an illustration of just how far Jenin has descended into the clutches of the local armed factions and PIJ, and how the Palestinian Authority has lost all control there.
On June 26, Hamas claimed credit for the launch of two failed rockets from the city—a red flag about what would come next if Jenin’s “Lebanonization” process were allowed to continue.
The use of air power for the first time in this sector since 2006 is a reflection of the scale of the threat, and of the need for new tools to keep IDF units safe.
Several armed Palestinian terrorists had been killed so far on Monday morning, and the gunmen will likely seek to regroup and attack the IDF in the coming hours.
The operation is, however, ultimately a reflection of a larger strategic problem, namely the power vacuum and chaos in Samaria, which Islamist terrorists are filling effectively. Israel does not want this trend to spread south.
Yet the P.A.’s ability to reestablish a degree of control in Jenin after the latest operation is very much in question at this stage.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
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