Israeli forces withdraw after West Bank raid « Khabarhub
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Israeli forces withdraw after West Bank raid

05 July 2023  

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TEL AVIV: Israeli troops pulled out from a West Bank refugee camp on Tuesday after conducting searches for members of armed Palestinian groups that began Monday and included more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers.

At least 12 Palestinians were killed; Israel said all were combatants. So far, militant groups have claimed five as their members: Islamic Jihad claimed four and Hamas claimed the fifth.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, Israel reported that one of its soldiers had been killed.

Explosions and gunfire could be heard near the Jenin hospital as the Israelis left and residents who had fled the fighting began to return. As its forces withdrew, Israel said it carried out an airstrike on gunmen at a cemetery but had no knowledge of any of its forces in the vicinity of the hospital.

“At these moments we are completing the mission, and I can say that our extensive operation in Jenin is not a one-off,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a nearby military checkpoint.

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

Palestinian health officials said at least 12 people were dead and 100 others wounded, 20 of them seriously.

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

The Israeli military operation included drone strikes, bulldozers and hundreds of troops as they carried out what officials called counterterrorism operations.

The Palestinians, neighboring Jordan and Egypt and the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the violence.

Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, “Our Palestinian people will not kneel, will not surrender, will not raise the white flag, and will remain steadfast on their land in the face of this brutal aggression.”

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said Monday it was closely monitoring the conflict and that it was “imperative to take all possible precautions to prevent the loss of civilian lives.” It said the fighting underscored the need for Israeli and Palestinian security forces to work together to restore peace.

The Jenin attack came as Israel’s right-wing government, installed last December, faced growing pressure for its tough response to a string of attacks on Israelis in the region, one of which killed four people last month. Jenin has been a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence since the spring of 2022.

Lynn Hastings, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian areas, said on Twitter that she was “alarmed by scale of Israeli forces operation.” She said the U.N. was mobilizing humanitarian aid.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council urged restraint and called on Israelis and Palestinians to “refrain from unilateral actions that further inflame tensions.”

(Inputs from VOA/AP, AFP and Reuters)

Publish Date : 05 July 2023 09:43 AM

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