Palestinians suffer ´most violent´ Israeli raid in West Bank in 20 years

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Huge explosions are heard from time to time in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, with clouds of black smoke rising in different areas, as an intense exchange of fire is going on between Palestinian militants and the Israeli soldiers, reported Xinhua.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the latest Israeli military operation in Jenin has left at least eight Palestinians killed and about 80 injured, including 17 in critical condition.

The Israeli army launched a large-scale military operation in Jenin at dawn on Monday. Palestinian security sources told Xinhua that Israeli forces stormed the city from several axes, surrounded the camp, seized several buildings and residential houses, and deployed snipers on roofs.

The military operation "is the most violent since 2002," with intensive airstrikes targeting buildings where dozens of Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire with the Israeli soldiers, said residents and security officials.

Videos circulating on social media showed the damage caused by the airstrikes on the buildings and posts, which the Israeli army said belonged to Palestinian militant groups.

In a press statement, the Israeli army said it bombarded a command headquarters that housed a meeting place, an armament depot, and a communication center for activists, adding the targeted site is located near two schools and a medical center.

In response, Palestinian factions "engaged in armed clashes with the Israeli soldiers, detonated high-explosive devices and shot down three drones flying over the camp," said Palestinian factions in separate statements.

Israel Radio reported that more than 1,000 soldiers joined the operation. An Israeli army spokesman said the army "does not intend to occupy the Jenin refugee camp, but this is an operation targeting terrorist groups."

The Israeli forces arrested activists and seized many explosive devices hoarded for combat, according to the spokesman.

Eyewitnesses said some refugee families fled the camp to the city center or other areas, fearing military escalation during the evening hours.

Ramzi, a young man living in the refugee camp who is ready to escape with his family members, told Xinhua that the camp was exposed to something like "an earthquake."

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila accused the Israeli army of preventing medical personnel from entering the refugee camp to take the injured to hospitals, while the Palestinian Red Crescent Society appealed for a safe passage to evacuate the wounded from the camp.

"Ambulances can hardly reach the injured," lamented an ambulance driver.

The Palestinian Ministry of Information said media crews were also targeted, besieged and shot, and the equipment was burned.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, slammed the Israeli activities as "a war crime against defenseless people."

Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the aggression "will drag the region into a spiral of violence and instability."

Daoud Shihab, a senior Islamic Jihad member in Gaza, warned in a statement that "all options are open if the aggression does not stop," calling on mediators including Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to intervene immediately before it is too late.

In Gaza City, dozens of Palestinians were waving Palestinian flags at the square of the Unknown Soldier to protest against the Israeli military operation in Jenin.

  •  Palestine
  •  Israel


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