Nine Palestinians killed in Israeli raid in Jenin

Nine Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials say – the deadliest in years.

An elderly woman was reported among the dead in the flashpoint town of Jenin.

The Israeli military said it had acted to foil major attacks by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) “terror squad”.

During an attempt to arrest the militants, three opened fire toward the troops and were killed, it added. A fourth surrendered and was arrested.

“The security forces operated to surround the building in which the suspects were located,” an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement said. “Two armed suspects were identified fleeing the scene and were neutralized.”

“One of the suspects who were in the building surrendered himself to the security forces. IDF combat engineering soldiers entered the building in order to detonate two explosive devices used by the suspects, where there was an additional armed suspect, who was neutralized by the soldiers at the scene.”

The IDF accused the militants of being “heavily involved in planning and executing multiple major terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers”.

Oher Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the troops during the raid, according to the military. The troops responded with live fire and “hits were identified”, it said, adding that it was looking into “claims regarding additional casualties”.

PIJ and Hamas said their militants had targeted the troops with gunfire and improvised explosive devices. Gunshots and explosions could be heard in footage shared by Palestinian media.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said the situation in Jenin was “extremely critical” following the raid, with many people injured and ambulances unable to reach them.

The children’s ward of a local hospital was hit by Israeli tear gas, she said. The IDF did not comment on the accusation.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli raid as a “massacre” happening “under international silence”.

“This is what encourages the occupation government to commit massacres against our people in full view of the world,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

Tensions have recently risen in the West Bank as the Israeli military continues what it describes as an anti-terrorism offensive.

At least 29 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank so far this year, including militants and civilians.

Last year in the West Bank more than 150 Palestinians were killed, nearly all by Israeli forces. The dead included unarmed civilians, militant gunmen and armed attackers.

A series of Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis, as well as militant gunfire at troops during arrest raids, meanwhile killed more than 30 people including civilians, police and soldiers. 

Source: BBC

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