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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Majdi Mohammed/AP Army vehicles during an Israeli military raid on the militant stronghold of the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank

Israeli raid of West Bank continues after 10 Palestinians killed

The raid that began early yesterday targeted Jenin with armoured vehicles, army bulldozers and drone strikes.

ISRAEL PUSHED ON for a second day with its biggest military operation in years in the occupied West Bank, which left 10 Palestinians dead and forced thousands to flee their homes.

The raid that began early yesterday and was launched under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government, targeted the militant stronghold of Jenin and employed armoured vehicles, army bulldozers and drone strikes.

This morning, shops were shuttered in Jenin, with very few people on the streets littered with debris and burned roadblocks from the previous day’s fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants.

Drones hummed overhead, an AFP correspondent reported.

In the city’s refugee camp – an urban community that was home to 18,000 Palestinians – multiple streets were ripped up leaving broken electricity cables, oil, and pools of water apparently after an Israeli anti-bomb bulldozer passed.

The Israeli army said its “counterterrorism activities” in Jenin had continued overnight into today, with forces acting to “neutralise” an underground shaft used to store explosives in the refugee camp.

“Furthermore, IDF soldiers located and dismantled two operational situation rooms belonging to terrorist organisations in the area,” the army said in a statement, referring to the Israel Defense Forces.

It said it had struck a a hideout for alleged attackers of Israeli targets, and other sites.

Israeli forces had “apprehended 120 Palestinian suspects” since the assault began, but around “300 armed terrorists were still in Jenin, mostly in hiding,” the army said.

Prior to this operation Israel had already stepped up raids in the northern West Bank, which has seen a recent spate of attacks on Israelis as well as Jewish settler violence targeting Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has worsened since last year, and escalated further under the Netanyahu coalition government that includes extreme-right allies.

“In the last five years, this is the worst raid,” Qasem Benighader, a nurse at a hospital morgue said, noting “many” patients with bullet wounds and injuries from explosives. 

A suspected car ramming took place today in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, 65 kilomteres from Jenin, injuring five people, police and medics said.

Police said they received a report about “a car that attacked a number of civilians” in north Tel Aviv and that they had later “neutralised the attacker”.

Medics said they were treating five injured people.


A doctor at Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin said patients died because of delay in bringing them to the facility.

“Some of them either died or deteriorated from moderate cases to severe cases,” Tawfeek al-Shobaki told AFP, adding the Israeli forces had destroyed infrastructure around the camp making it difficult for vehicles to move.

The Israeli army said it does not intend to stay in the camp but is ready for prolonged fighting.

A total of 10 people were killed and 100 others wounded, 20 of them seriously, since the start of the assault, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Around 3,000 people have so far fled their homes in the Jenin refugee camp, deputy governor of Jenin, Kamal Abu al-Roub told AFP, adding arrangements were being made to house them in schools and other shelters in Jenin city.

embedded888d473b75bc40e2bbc3fd868522fa79 Adel Hana / AP Palestinian demonstrators wave their national flags while others burn tyres during a protest against an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin Adel Hana / AP / AP

In last night’s darkness, women carried their youngest children while older ones lugged belongings through the streets.

Jenin resident Badr Shagoul told AFP: “I saw them taking bulldozers into the camp, they were destroying buildings… These were people’s homes.”

The United Nations says Jenin camp has “one of the highest rates of unemployment and poverty” among West Bank camps, and the military operation disrupted water and electricity to “large areas” of it.

Netanyahu said Israeli forces in “the nest of terrorists in Jenin” were “destroying command centres and seizing considerable weaponry”.

The Palestinian foreign ministry called the escalation “an open war against the people of Jenin”.

The Jenin area is nominally controlled by president Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which has partial administrative control in the West Bank.

The ruling Fatah party declared a general strike today affecting private businesses and other sectors, and which saw all Palestinian Authority employees remaining home.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply concerned” about the violence, and called for the respect of international humanitarian law, a spokesman said in a statement.

The United States said ally Israel had a right to “defend its people against… terrorist groups” but called for protection of civilians.

‘Strengthen settlements’

In the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, protesters burned tyres near the border fence with Israel.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is now home to around 490,000 Israelis in settlements considered illegal under international law.

The Palestinians, who seek their own independent state, want Israel to withdraw from all land it seized in 1967 and to dismantle all Jewish settlements.

Netanyahu, however, has pledged to “strengthen settlements” and expressed no interest in reviving peace talks, moribund since 2014.

At least 187 Palestinians, 25 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed this year, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources from both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians and three members of the Arab minority.

 – © AFP 2023

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