7 hurt in Tel Aviv attack on day two of Israel's occupied West Bank raid

AFP , Tuesday 4 Jul 2023

A car ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv wounded seven people Tuesday before the suspect was shot dead, on the second day of Israel's biggest military operation in years in the occupied West Bank.

 Tel Aviv
Members of Israeli security and emergency personnel work at the site of a reported car ramming attack in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2023. AFP


Palestinian group Hamas praised the "heroic" attack as "an initial response to crimes against our people in the Jenin camp" where Israeli occupation forces had killed 10 people in a major raid on Monday.

The driver in Tel Aviv was thought to have intentionally hit several pedestrians before getting out to "stab civilians with a sharp object," police said.

The man, an occupied West Bank resident, was then shot dead by an armed passerby, said the Israeli police chief.

The attack came as the Israeli occupation army pushed on with its operation in the resistance group stronghold of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank that left 10 Palestinians dead, more than 100 in custody, and thousands displaced from their homes.

The Jenin raid, launched Monday under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right government, employed hundreds of troops, army bulldozers and drone strikes.

"In the last five years, this is the worst raid," said Qasem Benighader, a nurse at a hospital morgue.

'Open war'

On Tuesday, shops were shuttered amid a general strike and Jenin's near-empty streets littered with debris and burned roadblocks.

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

The northern occupied West Bank has seen a recent spate of attacks on Israelis as well as Israeli settlers violence targeting Palestinians.

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

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

Around 3,000 people had fled their homes in the Jenin refugee camp, said deputy governor of Jenin, Kamal Abu al-Roub, adding they would be housed in schools and other shelters.

The United Nations said the military operation disrupted water and electricity to "large areas" of the refugee camp.


'Strengthen settlements'

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.

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. Approximately 700,000 extremist Israeli settlers live in the occupied territories, according to the UN figures. 

Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

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

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

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gviron called for his government to construct more settlements in the occupied West Bank and assassinate "hundreds, or thousands" of Palestinians.

By end of June, the Israeli occupation army carried out a series of air strikes on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, murdering at least seven Palestinians, including a boy and a girl, and wounding 91 Palestinians.

At least 188 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.

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