Israeli raid on West Bank camp kills 2 Palestinians: Ministry

AFP , Tuesday 19 Sep 2023

Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday killed two Palestinians during a drone-assisted raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, while border clashes in Gaza killed a third, Palestinian officials said.

 Jenin refugee camp
File Photo: An Israeli armored vehicle is stationed at the end of a blocked-off street during an ongoing military operation in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. AFP


The Palestinian health ministry reported "two martyrs" in Jenin, the site of frequent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants.

The ministry added in statement that "20 people were wounded by occupation (Israeli) fire in Jenin".

The Israeli occupation army confirmed troops were operating in Jenin on Tuesday evening and said a drone struck the camp, without elaborating.

Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said troops were involved in a "necessary" operation "to thwart terrorist activities".

Mahmoud Sadi, Jenin director of the Palestinian Red Crescent, reported the "sound of explosives and shooting" which were impeding rescuers' access to the site of the violence.

Jenin's deputy governor, Kamal Abu al-Rub, said the Israeli army had "targeted a house used as a hideout by a wanted Palestinian".

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and its forces regularly carry out incursions into areas such as Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp which are nominally under the Palestinian Authority's security control.

In July, the Israeli army carried out its biggest raid in years on the Jenin camp, in which 13 Palestinians including militants and children were killed.

One soldier died during the raid, also by Israeli fire "following an incident of mistaken identification", the army said at the time.

Violence linked to the Israel-Palestinian conflict has surged since early last year, particularly in the West Bank.

At least 235 Palestinians have been killed so far this year in incidents linked to the conflict.

The bloodshed has also seen 32 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources on both sides.

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

'Collective Punishment' 

In recent days, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces have also erupted along the border of the blockaded Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, a Palestinian was killed by "occupation (Israeli) bullets", said the health ministry in Gaza, which is controlled by Islamist movement Hamas.

The Israeli occupation army said hundreds of "rioters" gathered near the border fence and "a number of explosive devices were activated".

"IDF (army) soldiers operated in the area with riot dispersal means and sniper fire. Several hits were identified," it added in a statement.

The clashes in Gaza follow an Israeli announcement late on Sunday that it would keep the key Erez crossing shut following a "security assessment".

"The reopening of the crossing will be subject to ongoing evaluation based on the evolving situation in the region," said COGAT, a unit of the Israeli defence ministry responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs.

Thousands of Palestinian workers from Gaza were blocked from entering Israel due to the closure which an Israeli NGO, Gisha, condemned as "collective punishment".

Israel has issued work permits to some 18,500 Gazans, COGAT said on Tuesday.

The closure is "harming Gaza workers and their families, as well as other permit holders who need to travel for humanitarian needs," Gisha said in a statement.

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