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Palestinian Security Force Engages and Neutralizes Islamic Jihad Gunman in Uncommon Internal Conflict

Palestinian security force (Credits: The Economic Times)

A rare and disputed intra-Palestinian clash occurred in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, resulting in the death of a gunman, Ahmed Abu al-Foul. Palestinian security officers killed him in Tulkarm, with circumstances surrounding the incident being contested.

According to Palestinian Authority security services spokesperson Talak Dweikat, a security force patrolling Tulkarm overnight came under fire and returned fire, hitting the gunman, who later died in hospital. However, videos circulating online, which Reuters could not immediately confirm, showed a car being hit by gunfire, contradicting the official account.

The Tulkarm and Nour Shams Camp Brigades, a local armed group affiliated with Islamic Jihad, claimed al-Foul as their member and described his death as a “treacherous” and unprovoked attack, likening it to an “assassination by Israeli special forces.”

Palestinian security force kills Islamic Jihad gunman (Credits: Reuters)

The incident highlights the complicated and tense situation in the West Bank, where President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) exercises limited self-rule and sometimes coordinates security with Israel.

The territory has descended into chaos and poverty, with the PA and Israel trading blame, particularly since Israel’s offensive in Gaza has further strained ties. Hamas, an ally of Islamic Jihad and the ruling party in the Gaza Strip, condemned the incident, denouncing “the attacks by the PA’s security forces on our people and our resistance fighters.”

While exchanges of gunfire between Palestinian security forces and gunmen have occurred several times in the last year, deaths are rare, making this incident a huge and concerning development.

One Killed in Rare Clash between Palestinian Security Forces (Credits: Asharq Al-Awsat)

The incident raises questions about the PA’s security coordination with Israel and its impact on the Palestinian population. The PA’s strategy of seeking diplomatic accommodation with Israel has been criticized by Hamas and other militant groups, who advocate for armed resistance. The incident may further escalate tensions between the PA and militant groups, potentially leading to increased violence and instability in the region.

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