IDF Special Forces and members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces exchanged gunfire early Tuesday morning in an apparent operational mishap on the IDF’s part.
Members of an IDF undercover unit were driving through the city of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria, which is under full PA control, when they encountered members of the PA’s security service on patrol. The encounter escalated into a gunfight.
No Israelis were injured, while the PA reports that two Arabs were lightly injured.
The IDF stated after the incident that during an operation to arrest terrorist operatives in Shechem, exchanges of fire broke out between IDF soldiers and those identified by the force as suspects.
In retrospect, it turned out that these were members of Palestinian security service.
The event will be investigated, the IDF stated.
The IDF did not state if it was successful in apprehending the terror suspects.
Reports indicate that the armored vehicles that the PA received a few weeks ago with Israel’s authorization were involved in the incident.
The IDF and the PA’s security forces usually maintain a close work relationship. The PA helps the IDF in its fight on terrorism, while the IDF helps the PA maintain its regime and thwarts attempts to overthrow it, specifically by Hamas.
Israel’s Police on Monday carried out a mass operation in the Arab village of Iblin in the north, during which they seized illegal weapons.
Police units seized two M-16 assault rifles, two Carl Gustav automatic weapons, a Glock handgun and a large amount of ammunition.
Two suspects, aged 20 and 23, were arrested for the possession of illegal weapons.
Since the beginning of 2019, the police have arrested 682 suspects in connection with the possession and the trafficking of illegal weapons.
Some 75 suspects have already been indicted, while about 100 remain under arrest and are waiting for a court appearance.
Police were successful in seizing hundreds of guns, including 75 automatic weapons, 177 handguns, 68 grenades, 49 explosive devices, 549 firebombs, and six RPG rockets.
“Police operations will continue in all areas in order to find suspects and prevent weapons from reaching the hands of criminals,” the police stated.
The Arab sector in Israel suffers from a comparatively high crime rate.
Data shows that Arab-Israelis are involved in 57 percent of all murder cases, 55 percent of the attempted murder cases, 59 percent of the arson incidents, 45 percent of the robberies, and 26 percent of drug cases.
Israelis Arabs represent about 20 percent of the general population.
According to the Israel Prison Service, the proportion of Arab inmates among Israeli citizens is twice their amount in the general population 43 percent.
Israel’s police have been attempting in recent years to curb the crime rate in the sector.