Israel withdraws troops from Jenin, attacks targets in Gaza

AP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 5 Jul 2023

The Israeli occupation military withdrew its troops from a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, ending an intense two-day attack that killed at least 13 Palestinians, drove thousands of people from their homes and left a wide swath of damage in its wake.

Jenin refugee camp
Palestinians walk on a damaged road following two days of Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. AP


The raid which included a series of airstrikes and hundreds of ground troops was one of the most intense Israeli military operations in the West Bank since a Palestinian uprising against Israel's open-ended occupation ended two decades ago.

Ahead of the withdrawal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to carry out similar operations if needed.

Since early 2022, Israel has been carrying out near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank in response to a series of deadly Palestinian attacks.

The Palestinians say such violence is the inevitable result of 56 years of occupation and the absence of any political process with Israel. They also point to increased West Bank settlement construction and violence by extremist settlers.

Big military bulldozers tore through alleyways during the 48-hour raid leaving heavy damage to roads and buildings, as thousands of residents fled the camp to seek safety with relatives or in shelters. People said electricity and water were knocked out. 

After troops left Wednesday morning, residents began emerging from their homes. They found streets lined by scorched and flattened cars and piles of rubble.

Similarly, the Israeli occupation military carried out an airstrike late Tuesday targeting a Jenin cemetery. Israeli and Palestinian officials also reported fighting near a hospital in Jenin late Tuesday. An Associated Press reporter on the ground could hear explosions and the sound of gunfire.

Palestinian health officials said 13 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli raid and dozens were wounded. 

The large-scale raid comes amid a more than yearlong spike in Israeli violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

At least 185 Palestinians have been killed this year, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources. On the other side at least 25 Israelis were killed.

The sustained operation has raised warnings from humanitarian groups of a deteriorating situation. 

Doctors Without Borders accused the Israeli army of firing tear gas into a hospital, filling the emergency room with smoke and forcing emergency patients to be treated in a main hall.

The U.N.’s human rights chief said the scale of the operation “raises a host of serious issues with respect to international human rights norms and standards, including protecting and respecting the right to life.”

Kefah Ja’ayyasah, a camp resident, said soldiers forcibly entered her home and locked the family inside.

“They took the young men of my family to the upper floor, and they left the women and children trapped in the apartment at the first floor,” she said.

She said soldiers would not let her take food to the children and blocked an ambulance crew from entering the home when she yelled for help, before eventually allowing the family passage to a hospital.

Across the West Bank, Palestinians observed a general strike to protest the Israeli raid.

Early on Wednesday, Israel launched air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at a location southwest of Gaza City, destroying and causing a fire in the site and damage to nearby homes, Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported.

Israel claims the attacks were in reprisal to five rockets fired at Israel from the blockaded Palestinian territory which did not cause any damage or injuries

Four other missiles were also fired at a site northwest of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, also causing damage to the site and homes in its vicinity.

Warplanes also attacked a site in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip, destroying it in total, WAFA added


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