Hamas's armed wing mourns slain fighter

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, mourned the death of member Ahmed Jarrar, who was martyred early Tuesday morning by Israeli troops near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

In a statement, the Qassam Brigades described Jarrar, 22, as "a leading commander".

"Jarrar was martyred by Israeli soldiers in the village of Yamoun northwest of Jenin," the statement read.

The Israeli authorities accuse Jarrar of killing a Jewish settler in a drive-by shooting last month near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency, for its part, confirmed that Jarrar had been "eliminated" in a joint operation with Israeli army and police.

In its statement, however, the Qassam Brigades did not claim responsibility for the Jan. 9 attack in which the settler was killed -- an act that Israel claims Jarrar carried out with several accomplices.

No Palestinian faction, in fact, has claimed responsibility for the settler's death, nor has Israel directly accused the Qassam Brigades of involvement.

In its statement, the Brigades vowed to retaliate against Israel for killing the fighter.

In recent months, Israeli forces had carried out numerous raids in Jenin in search of Jarrar.

Last month, they demolished four homes in the area during which one of Jarrar's relatives was killed.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, for his part, praised the Israeli security forces responsible for killing Jarrar.

In a statement, Netanyahu said that anyone who did harm to Israeli citizens would not go unpunished.

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