Palestinian Ministry Says Israeli Forces Kill Eight in West Bank Raid

Wed May 22 2024
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JENIN, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian medics said eight Palestinians were killed Tuesday in an Israeli airstrike in the West Bank city of Jenin, where masked gunmen exchanged fire with Israeli forces, according to media reports.

Smoke billowed over a refugee camp adjacent to the city after a series of explosions inside, while at least five gunmen clashed with soldiers in a nearby downtown district, a news outlet said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah said Israeli troops killed eight people – up from an earlier toll of seven – and wounded nearly 20 others during an airstrike that began in the morning in the city of Janin.

Media reported four bodies in the morgue of Jenin’s Khalil Suleiman hospital.

The Israeli military said it had launched an “anti-terrorist operation” in the city, later adding that “firefights between security forces and armed terrorists are ongoing”.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said among those killed was surgeon Usaeed Jabareen from the government hospital in Jenin.

A school teacher and a student were also among the dead, Wafa said, citing hospital director Wissam Bakr.

Amer Manasra, a 25-year-old freelance journalist, told media he was wounded by Israeli forces during the raid.

“I was hit in the back of the leg by a stray bullet fired by Israeli forces,” he said from his hospital bed, adding that the incident happened near the entrance to the camp.

The Israeli military said it raided the home of Ahmed Barakat, who was behind last year’s attack on an Israeli civilian.

Meir Tamari, 32, was killed in May 2023 at the entrance to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, medical and military officials said at the time.

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After the airstrike, all schools in Jenin and the camp were evacuated, Wafa said.

By afternoon, the streets near the camp were deserted, except for Israeli bulldozers hauling away debris.

The road between the hospital and the camp was cleared of asphalt by Israeli soldiers who said they were looking for hidden bombs.

Drones buzzed overhead and gunfire rang out sporadically.

Crowds of mourners, including school children, gathered for the funeral of teacher Allam Jaradat.

Jaradat’s body, wrapped in the green flag of the militant group Hamas, was laid to rest in a mosque where mourners prayed.

“The new massacre in Jenin… is irrefutable proof of the criminal mentality that rules the occupying state and its ideological belief in killing our people,” Hamas said in a statement.

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday’s airstrike in a statement on Wafa, saying Israel was “killing innocent people, doctors and destroying the infrastructure of Palestinian hospitals, towns and villages.”

Jenin has long been a stronghold of Palestinian militant groups, and the Israeli military routinely raids the city and the nearby camp.

The West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has seen a spike in violence for more than a year, but especially since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

Since the start of the Gaza war, at least 513 Palestinians have been killed in the territory by Israeli troops or settlers, according to Palestinian officials.

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