Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, on Monday blasted the Palestinian Authority (PA) for continuing to support terrorism, after Israeli troops found weapons in the heart of Jenin.
Erdan tweeted pictures of the munitions located by the troops as part of the counterterrorism operation in Jenin and wrote, “These mortars and IEDs were found in a weapons manufacturing facility in the densely populated heart of Jenin.”
“Storing explosives used to target civilians while using civilians as cover is a double war crime. The Palestinian Authority should have condemned it and taken action against it, instead of supporting and financing terrorists,” he added.
The IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced on Monday that IDF and Shin Bet forces located and targeted a facility that contained hundreds of explosives, a pit containing weapons, 12 magazines and an M-4 rifle in Jenin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained on Monday that Israel had launched the operation because, "In recent months, Jenin has become a haven for terrorism - we are putting an end to it."
"Our forces entered Jenin into the nests of terrorists - they eliminate terrorists, they arrest wanted persons, they destroy headquarters and seize many weapons, and they do another thing - they destroy laboratories on an almost industrial scale. Laboratories from which they made explosives and IEDs intended for the slaughter and murder of Israeli civilians. They are doing all of this in one of the densest places on earth, and they are doing it with minimal harm to civilians up to this moment, and no harm to those not involved, and this is the directive - to look after the security of our forces and also to avoid harming innocent people as much as possible," Netanyahu said.
The IDF's international spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, spoke toIsrael National News about the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in Jenin.
"Jenin has become a hornet's nest of terrorism over the past few years, and there were some treacherous events last week," he said. "We were waiting for the right timing - intelligence-wise, weather-wise - to launch an extensive operation aimed at dismantling the terrorist infrastructure. Jenin is infested with weapons, command centers, IEDs, munitions, you name it."
"We used a surprise tactic - they expected us to come by land, but we attacked from the air. I can't go into our strategy beyond that. We’ll have to see how the day ends, but I think it was a successful start,” added Hecht.
“All our best forces are in Jenin. We started with a command center right in the camp, and with our elite forces, we’re slowly going from one target to another within the camp. We’re trying to break the mindset of the camp as a safe haven for terrorists. We’ll go on as long as we need to.”