Israeli forces kill suspected Palestinian militant in West Bank raid

JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian militant was killed after an hours-long standoff with Israeli forces Tuesday, according to Israeli army reports.

A statement from the military identified the man as 24-year-old Muhammad Assi, a member of the military group Islamic Jihad, which Israel blames for the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus in November 2012. The attack concurrent with Israel’s military campaign in Gaza injured 29 people.

Assi had eluded Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, until recently. Special forces on Tuesday raided an agricultural area between the villages of Biliin and Kafr Nima, northwest of Ramallah, in order to arrest Assi, who was holed up in a cave, officials said.

According to the Israeli army, Assi fired on the soldiers, who returned fire, killing the suspected militant.


Palestinian sources reported that a shootout with Israeli soldiers went on for hours. One media account reported that Assi was killed when special forces fired a Stinger shoulder-launched missile into the cave.

Two other Palestinians who Israel suspects aided in the 2012 bombing were taken into custody, according to the military. However, locals from Kafr Nima said soldiers stormed the village and arrested three people, according to a Palestinian report.

Israeli military raids aimed at arresting accused militants are routine, but several such operations in recent months have ended with Palestinian fatalities, including raids in August and September.

Meanwhile, peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are reportedly progressing.


“The pace has intensified, all core issues are on the table and they have been meeting with increased intensity,” U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday after briefing Arab states on the status of the talks.


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Sobelman is a news assistant in The Times’ Jerusalem bureau.