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Israeli forces withdraw after raid in West Bank

Time : 2023-07-05 Hits : 103

Israeli forces withdrew from a refugee camp in the West Bank on Tuesday (4 July), following raids on Palestinian militant groups that began on Monday and involved more than a thousand Israeli troops.

At least 12 Palestinians were killed. Israel said all the dead were combatants. So far, the militant groups have claimed only five of their members killed: Islamic Jihad said four were killed, and Hamas said one was killed.

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Israel reported that one Israeli soldier had been killed.

Explosions and gunfire could be heard near the Jenin hospital as Israeli forces left and residents who had fled the fighting began to return. As Israeli forces withdrew, Israel said it had carried out an air strike against militants at a cemetery, but was not aware of any Israeli troops near the hospital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a nearby military checkpoint, "At this moment, we are completing our mission and I can say that our extensive operation in Jenin was not a one-time event."

The Israeli military said it had detained 120 suspected militants in Jenin and seized weapons and explosives.

Palestinian health officials said 12 people had been killed and 100 injured, 20 of them seriously.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had evacuated about 3,000 of the 17,000 people in the camp since the Israeli raid was launched on Monday. Some Jenin residents have sought refuge in schools and other public buildings, while many have taken refuge in their homes to avoid street clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.

Israeli military operations have included drone strikes, bulldozers and hundreds of soldiers. Authorities say the Israeli forces are carrying out anti-terrorist operations.

The violence was condemned by Palestinians, neighbours Jordan and Egypt and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a group of 57 countries.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority president, said, "We, the Palestinian people, will not give in, we will not surrender, we will not raise the white flag, we will continue to resist this brutal invasion with determination."

Also on Tuesday, Israeli authorities said eight Israelis were wounded in a car ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, sparking fears that an Israeli military assault on the occupied West Bank refugee camp of Jenin could spark more violence.

In Washington, the US State Department said on Monday it was closely monitoring the conflict and said "all possible precautions must be taken to prevent civilian loss of life". The State Department said the fighting underscored the need for Israeli and Palestinian security forces to work together to restore peace.

The Jenin attack comes as Israel's right-wing government, formed last December, has come under increasing pressure for its tough response to a series of attacks on Israelis in the region, including one last month that killed four people. Jenin has been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence since the spring of 2022.

Lynn Hastings, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine, tweeted that she was "appalled by the scale of the Israeli army's operation". She said the UN was mobilising humanitarian aid.

Last week, the UN Security Council urged restraint and called on Israelis and Palestinians to "refrain from unilateral actions that further exacerbate tensions".




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