People burn tires before the funeral of one of five Palestinians killed in an Israeli overnight military raid at Burqin village, near the West Bank city of Jenin. Photo by EPA-Alaa Badarneh/EPA-EFE
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Five Palestinians, including a 16-year-old, were killed and two Israel Defense Forces military personnel seriously injured while Israel attempted to stop a cell that was planned on executing a terrorist attack in the West Bank, Israel said Sunday.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the deaths Saturday night. The IDF confirmed the injuries to an officer and a soldier during the raid in the village of Burqin, west of Jenin, to arrest "terrorists belonging to Hamas' military infrastructure," IDF spokesperson Lt. Col Amnon Shefler said in a report by CNN.
Overnight Saturday, security forces that includes the IDF, Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency and the Yamam counterterrorism unit, attempted to apprehend "several Hamas terrorists in order to stop a cell that was planning on executing a terrorist attack," Shefler said.
A ceasefire has been in place.
The IDF is bracing for retaliation in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
"This was a Hamas cell, one that we have been following for a long time with intelligence from the Shin Bet. There's always a chance that there can be rockets, especially since this was a Hamas cell and the group is always trying to connect Gaza to the West Bank," IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav told The Jerusalem Post.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who was en route to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, said forces took action "against Hamas terrorists who were about to carry out terrorist attacks in real-time," in a statement.
"The soldiers and commanders in the field acted as expected; they engaged the enemy and we back them completely," Bennett said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described the raids as "crimes" and "field executions," and warned "continuation of this policy will lead to an explosion of the situation and to more tension and instability," according to a statement published by the Palestinian WAFA news agency.
Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou blamed the "the continuous security coordination" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"The option of confronting the occupation and resisting it by all means is best able to confuse the occupation and force it to stop its crimes, which requires the authority to end security coordination with the occupation and stop normalizing meetings with it," he said in a statement.