The IDF says the sniper may have mistakenly killed a Palestinian girl during an attack in Jenin

The Israel Defense Forces said they believe it is “highly likely” that a soldier accidentally shot and killed a teenage Palestinian girl during a battle with Palestinian gunmen in the northern West Bank city of Jenin late Sunday.

The girl, Jana Majdi Assam Zakarna, 16, was found dead on the roof of her home with a gunshot wound to the head after Israeli troops withdrew from Jenin, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The IDF, citing an initial investigation into the shooting, said a Border Police sniper fired at Palestinian gunmen who fired at soldiers from rooftops during the attack.

“After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that there is indeed a high probability that the killed girl was hit by a random shot at armed men on a roof in the area from where the forces were fired upon,” the IDF said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

“It appears that the girl who was killed was on the roof of one of the houses near the shooters,” the military said.

The IDF dismissed claims that the teenager was shot on purpose as “baseless and baseless”.

The military was also investigating whether Zakarna may have aided the gunmen by observing or filming Israeli forces during the attack.

Jana Majdi Assam Zakarna, 16, who was killed during a firefight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank city of Jenin, December 11, 2022. (Social Media)

Earlier on Monday, outgoing Defense Secretary Benny Gantz expressed regret over Zakarna’s death.

“Firstly, I express my sorrow for her death, as well as for any death of someone who was not involved in terrorism, if that is indeed the case,” Gantz told a meeting of his National Unity party’s faction.

He said the operation was aimed at arresting Palestinians suspected of recent shooting attacks and those involved in terrorist organizations.

“The matter is being investigated and I can assure you of one thing, unlike those standing by the roadside with guns, stones and Molotov cocktails, waiting for an opportunity to kill Israeli girls and boys, women, old men and children, IDF soldiers do not shoot deliberately targeting uninvolved people,” Gantz said.

“IS will continue to act to thwart terrorism, anywhere and anytime, while adhering to the rules of open fire,” he said. “Commanders and Soldiers have full support to continue to carry out their mission with professionalism and determination.

Three other Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, which included live fire and explosives, as Israeli troops and Border Police officers, some of them undercover, raided businesses in Jenin late Sunday.

A border police spokesman confirmed troops had opened fire and said three terror suspects were arrested in the late-night operation.

“Following the arrests, violent riots broke out, including shooting and explosives from various ranges targeting [Israeli] forces,” a Border Police spokesman said in a statement. “Undercover officers, Border Police troops and IDF soldiers returned fire on the terrorists.”

Footage shared on social media showed soldiers exiting a van and entering a storefront, then exiting with Palestinians whose hands were tied.

Loud gunfire can be heard in the clips, and explosions can be heard in other videos from the city, including one that appears to show a bomb exploding next to a military jeep.

No Israeli soldiers were injured, police said.

A local wing of the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad confirmed that it opened fire and threw explosives at Israeli troops.

The three arrested suspects were handed over to the Shin Bet security service and an M16 rifle used by the Palestinians was seized, Israel said.

Tensions in the West Bank have been high over the past year, with the IDF conducting an ongoing major counter-terrorism offensive focused mostly on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks.

The operation led to more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly actions, but also left more than 165 Palestinians dead, many – but not all – while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

In overnight arrests, troops arrested 18 wanted Palestinians, including the three in Jenin, the IDF said on Monday morning.

The IDF says the sniper may have mistakenly killed a Palestinian girl during an attack in Jenin

An M16 rifle confiscated by Israeli forces during a raid in Jenin on December 11, 2022. (Police Spokesman)

Many deadly clashes took place in the Jenin and Nablus area, where Israeli forces have concentrated the most containment operations.

In Thursday, three Palestinian shooters were killed during a firefight with Israeli forces in Jenin. A week earlier, another two Palestinian terrorist agents were killed in similar clashes in the West Bank city.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have also repeatedly attacked military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on roads.

IS has recorded around 300 attacks and attempted shootings against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank this year, compared to 91 last year.

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