The United States expressed support on Tuesday for an Israeli counter-terror operation in Jenin earlier in the day. During the daylight raid, Israeli forces eliminated the terrorist responsible for the murder of two Israelis on Feb. 26, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
“Israel, as we have made the point before, has the legitimate right to defend its people and its territory against all forms of aggression, including, of course, those from terrorist groups,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price during a press briefing.
“And we’ve, as I just mentioned, seen far too many vivid illustrations of the terrorist threat that Israel faces, including in recent days. We remain deeply concerned by the sharp rise in violence in [Judea and Samaria], and we continue to urge the parties to take immediate steps to prevent the further loss of life,” he added.
The terrorist, identified by Palestinian media as Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, 49, a member of Hamas, shot dead brothers Hallel Menachem Yaniv (21) and Yagel Yaniv (19) while they were driving near Huwara in Samaria, according to the IDF.
Kharousha was released from prison four months ago, after being arrested for planning to murder Israeli soldiers. He had served just under three years and was freed despite warnings from intelligence and security officials.
In concurrent operations in Nablus on Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested two of Kharousha’s sons for suspected involvement in the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the soldiers who “eliminated the abhorrent terrorist who murdered the two wonderful brothers, Hallel and Yigal Yaniv, in cold blood.”
He continued, saying “our brave soldiers acted with surgical precision in the heart of the murderers’ lair. I commend them and send my best wishes for a swift recovery to our wounded. As I have said repeatedly: Whoever harms us will pay the price.”
For his part, Price reiterated that the Biden administration remains committed to resolving the conflict.
“We’ve said this many times before, but we continue to believe that Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, of security, of prosperity. That remains our goal. That remains our long-term goal to, in the first instance, keep alive the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution on the path to realizing that,” he said.
“The near-term goal is the goal we keep stressing in public and in private, that Israelis and Palestinians must take steps on an urgent basis to de-escalate tensions, to restore calm, and to put an end to this cycle of violence that has taken the lives of far too many on both sides,” continued Price. PJC