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Netanyahu Vows No Let Up in Counterterrorism Operations

In first statement following deadly Jenin raid last night, Prime Minister says Israel will continue to act in self-defense.
By Ari Soffer and AFP
First Publish: 3/23/2014, 1:34 PM

Gunman at the funeral of three terrorists killed in IDF operation
Gunman at the funeral of three terrorists killed in IDF operation
Flash 90

Israeli Prime Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday that the IDF would use force against anybody plotting attacks against the Jewish state, after troops killed two terrorists and a rioter during a raid in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin.    

"Over the weekend, our forces struck at a terrorist who had organised attacks on Israelis and was also planning attacks on innocent civilians," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting.  

"Our policy is to attack those who attack us and who are planning to attack us," the Prime Minister's Office quoted him as saying. "Both were applicable in this case."  

Israeli troops entered the Jenin refugee camp in Samaria (Shomron) on Saturday in what the army said was an operation to capture wanted Hamas terrorist Hamza Abu Alheja, 20.    

Clashes broke out resulting in the deaths of Abu Alheja, as well as another terrorist, Mahmud Abu Zena, 19, of the radical Islamic Jihad group. Also killed was Yazan Jabarin, who PA sources identified as a "civilian" but who was among dozens of rioters who hurled rocks, firebombs and other projectiles at security forces, and had links to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The Palestinian Authority called a day of mourning and a general strike.    

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed offshoot of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, issued a rare joint statement vowing revenge and accusing Abbas's Palestinian Authority of complicity in the killings through its security cooperation with Israel.    

But Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner defended the operation, saying that Abu Alheja was "a ticking bomb" who took part in shooting attacks and was in "advanced stages of the preparation of further attacks".