Clashes in Jenin
Clashes in JeninREUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Senior officials within the security establishment are warning that Israel must now prepare for a "significant escalation" in the wake of Thursday's counterterrorism operation in Jenin which foiled what is being described as a "major terrorist attack" in the making, Channel 12 News reports.

Following the operation, an "urgent meeting" was called by the terrorist groups operating in Gaza. Islamic Jihad, to which the eight eliminated terrorists belonged, has announced that Israel bears responsibility for the attack in the Jenin camp and that if Israeli attacks on Jenin do not cease, "all options are open."

Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has called on the international community to intervene. "We are calling on the United Nations and to all human rights organizations to intervene as an urgent matter in order to provide defense to our people and to stop the bloodshed that our children, young people, and women are experiencing," he said.

As noted, earlier on Thursday, security forces arrived in Jenin for a critical operation designed to arrest terrorists believed to be about to perpetrate a major terrorist attack.

According to Palestinian-Arab media sources, Israeli security forces arrived disguised as Arabs hidden on a milk truck. Once their presence was detected, shooting broke out and according to at least one account, eight terrorists were eliminated.

The operation was designed and led by ISA (Shabak) operatives acting on advanced intelligence warnings. They were joined by IDF special forces and riot police.

During the exchange of fire, calls went out from Jenin's mosques ordering Arabs to come to the aid of the terrorists. Schools were told to remain closed for the duration.