UN agencies express alarm at ongoing Israeli assault on Jenin

Ahram Online , Tuesday 4 Jul 2023

UN aid agencies voiced alarm on Tuesday at the humanitarian harm caused by the ongoing Israeli assault on the Palestinian city of Jenin in the West Bank.

Palestinians carry a wounded man shot by Israeli fire shortly after he threw a bomb toward an Israel
Palestinians carry a wounded man shot by Israeli fire shortly after he threw a bomb toward an Israeli army vehicle during a military raid in the Jenin refugee camp, a militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank, Tuesday, July 4, 2023. AFP


The Israeli operation, now in its second day, is targeting the city’s refugee camp, home to more than 15,000 people living in less than half a square kilometre of space.

“We are alarmed at the scale of air and ground operations that are taking place in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, and airstrikes hitting a densely populated refugee camp,” Vanessa Huguenin, a spokesperson for the UN humanitarian office, told a briefing.

She said three children were among those killed without providing details.

The alarm was reiterated on Twitter by Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian area, who added that the UN was mobilizing humanitarian aid.

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said many camp residents were in need of food, drinking water and milk powder.

Residents displaced

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, as many as 3,000 people had fled the camp by midnight on Monday.

There were conflicting reports about whether Israeli forces had demanded the camp's residents leave.

About 1,000 people had been evacuated to Palestinian Authority buildings, including those belonging to the city's security forces. In addition, guest houses and hotels in the area have opened their doors to fleeing residents, according to Jenin's Deputy Governor Kamal Abu Aroub on Tuesday.

Residents have also reported that ambulances have had difficulty reaching and evacuating people needing medical attention.

"First responders have been prevented from entering the [Jenin] refugee camp, including to reach persons who have been critically injured," said WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, referring to restrictions put in place by Israeli forces.

Offices and businesses across the West Bank were expected to close on Tuesday in response to calls for a general strike to protest the operation, which the Palestinian Authority has described as a "war crime."

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that the death toll has climbed to 10, with 100 more wounded, 20 of them critically.

The Islamic Jihad faction claimed four of the dead as its fighters. Hamas, another Islamist faction, claimed a fifth.

Separately, the ministry said that a 21-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.

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