Israeli forces launched an airstrike late at night on an underground facility in a mosque in the northern West Bank city of Jenin after intelligence from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Security Agency, better known as Shin Bet, suggested that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad group members were using it to plan an imminent attack.
Fighter jet deployed in attack
The Palestinian Authority's health ministry confirmed two deaths and multiple injuries. IDF has not officially disclosed the type of aircraft deployed for the strike, but open-source evidence points towards the possible involvement of a fighter jet; it is the first time in two decades that such an aircraft has been used for operations in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Red Crescent pinpointed the impact site to be close to the al-Ansar Mosque situated in the Jenin refugee camp, a known hub for Palestinian militants. The facility was identified as an underground terror route in a joint statement by the IDF and Shin Bet.
A substantial quantity of firearms and explosives was stored in the facility, according to intelligence sources. The cell using the facility was believed to be motivated by Hamas' October 7 attacks in southern Israel.
Israeli forces discover terror infrastructure in al-Ansar
Earlier this year, Israeli forces had raided the al-Ansar mosque and discovered a terror infrastructure -- armaments, explosives, weapons, and other military equipment. IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on X that the identified cell was planning a significant strike. He criticised Hamas for using sacred places as hideouts, accusing them of using symbols of Islam as a human shield.
Tensions in the region have escalated since the large-scale attack on southern Israel by Hamas. Israel has reportedly detained over 5,000 Palestinians. The UNs recent report makes grim reading and says it was the deadliest week for Palestinians since 2005. Settler violence incidents have nearly tripled. Moreover, Israel's defence measures have intensified in the West Bank, leading to tighter security, including the closure of crossings and checkpoints.