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Israeli Army Kills Top Palestinian Militant, Averts ‘Terrorist Attack

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The Israeli army claimed responsibility for killing a top Palestinian militant in an air strike in the occupied West Bank early Wednesday, averting a “terrorist attack” he was planning. Ahmed Abdullah Abu Shalal, responsible for several terrorist attacks over the past year, including one in annexed east Jerusalem, was eliminated in a precision air strike, according to the Israeli army. The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah, however, said the body of an unidentified martyr killed by the occupation (Israel) in a bombing of a vehicle had been received by a hospital in Nablus.

The Israeli army stated that Abu Shalal was killed following intelligence of his cell’s intentions of carrying out an imminent terrorist attack. The army did not offer details but said he was responsible for carrying out a shooting in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood of east Jerusalem in April last year in which two residents were wounded. Abu Shalal was also responsible for a bomb attack on Israeli troops in October in which one soldier was wounded. The army did not specify where the soldiers were targeted.

Under Abdullah’s leadership, the terrorist infrastructure in the Balata (refugee) camp in Nablus has received funding and guidance from Iranian sources, the army claimed. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza on October 7, the West Bank has experienced a level of violence not seen since the second Palestinian uprising or intifada between 2000 and 2005. Israeli army raids and attacks by settlers have killed around 350 people in the territory, according to an AFP tally based on sources from both sides.

The Israeli army’s decision to reclassify the Houthis as a “terrorist” entity once again has been met with resistance from the group, who claimed responsibility for an attack on an American vessel, the Genco Picardy, in the Gulf of Aden with what they described as “several appropriate missiles.” The US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, stated that the terrorist designation was a crucial tool to hinder the group’s access to financial markets and impede terrorist funding. Sullivan added that the US would reconsider the designation if the Houthis ceased their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The US and Britain have been applying military and diplomatic pressure on the Houthis, targeting sites and advocating for an international coalition to safeguard shipping from rebel attacks. Recent actions include the destruction of anti-ship missiles in Yemen and airstrikes on Houthi-controlled locations. This move to re-designate the Houthis comes after the Biden administration reversed the group’s terrorist designations in 2021, expressing concerns from aid groups that the designation hindered humanitarian efforts in Yemen.

The US now asserts that the renewed designation offers better flexibility in ensuring the well-being of Yemeni civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid. The international community has a vested interest in supporting efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, particularly in the context of security and sovereignty. It also highlights the need for enhanced cooperation and information sharing to address transnational security threats effectively. The international community should continue to support efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, while also addressing the root causes of conflict and working towards a lasting solution.

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