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Israel army kills 10 Palestinians, including elderly woman | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Israeli troops killed 10 Palestinians in one of the bloodiest days in the occupied West Bank since Israeli raids intensified early last year.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, nine of the Palestinians killed were in the Jenin refugee camp after Israeli forces stormed the area.

Another Palestinian, a 22-year-old man, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the town of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem.

In a raid in Jenin, which the Palestinians called a “massacre”, at least 20 people were wounded by live ammunition. Four of them were in critical condition.

An elderly woman was among the dead, according to Palestinian officials. Jenin hospital authorities identified her as Magda Obeid.

Israeli forces that left Jenin after the killings said they were looking into reports of the woman’s death.

INTERACTIVE - Israeli forces break into Jenin
(Al Jazeera)

Meanwhile, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed militia affiliated with the Palestinian political party Fatah, said one of its fighters, Izz al-Din Salahat, was among the dead.

Another person, Saeb Azriqi, 24, died from his injuries in hospital, according to the health ministry.

It said the situation on the ground was very difficult, with the wounded constantly making their way to hospitals as Israeli forces were accused of obstructing ambulances and medics.

“There is an unprecedented invasion going on… in terms of scale and number of casualties,” Wissam Baker, head of the Jenin public hospital, told Al Jazeera.

“The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs, who was lying on the floor, but the Israeli forces opened fire directly on the ambulance and did not allow them to approach him,” Baker continued.

[Translation: The [Israeli] occupying forces directly hit an ambulance in the Jenin refugee camp.]

Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters at the hospital, affecting the children’s ward, Baker said. He added that this resulted in the suffocation of children and others.

The Israeli army denies the deliberate use of tear gas in the hospital. “Nobody fired tear gas at the hospital on purpose,” an army spokesman said. “But the action took place not far from the hospital, and it is possible that the tear gar entered through an open window.”

Nabil Abu Rudayneh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA), announced that the administration would stop coordinating security with Israel following the killings in the West Bank.

“For now, it will not apply,” he said at a press conference in Ramallah, adding that the move was in response to repeated acts of aggression against the Palestinians and Israel’s violation of international law.

“We salute those who staunchly defend our homeland,” the spokesman said.

He also called on the International Criminal Court to investigate Thursday’s killings.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has declared a third day of mourning during which flags will be flown at half mast, official Palestinian television reported.

Palestinians inspect a damaged house after an Israeli raid in Jenin
Damaged house after Israeli raid in Jenin [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

Prime Minister Shtayyeh demands UN intervention

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh released a statement calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to “intervene immediately to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people and stop the bloodshed among children, youth and women.”

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Israeli raid on Jenin and called on the international community to stop the escalation of Israeli aggression, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saleh al-Aruri, a prominent leader of the Hamas movement that controls the blockaded Gaza Strip, said “the response of the resistance will not be delayed.”

Al Jazeera correspondent Yumna el-Sayed, reporting from Gaza, reported that Palestinian groups, including Hamas, have declared a day of mourning and declared a state of alert.

“They called on the international community to hold the ‘occupation criminals’ accountable for their crimes and finally called on the people of Gaza to take to the streets and show their anger at the Jenin massacre,” said al-Sayed.

Israeli operation

Justifying the operation, the Israeli military said special forces were sent to Jenin to apprehend Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of planning and carrying out “many major terrorist attacks.”

Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and laid siege to the camp in the early hours with secret agents, dozens of armored vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.

The military added that several Palestinian militants were shot dead after they opened fire.

“During the operation, the security forces cordoned off the building where the suspects were. Two armed suspects were found to have fled the scene and were neutralized by security forces,” Israeli officials said in a statement.

There were no reports of Israeli soldiers being injured.

US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel on Thursday endorsed Israel, calling the attack a “counterterrorism operation.”

“We recognize the very real security challenges facing Israel and the Palestinian Authority and condemn terrorist groups that are planning and carrying out attacks on innocent civilians,” Patel told reporters.

“We also deplore the loss of innocent lives and injuries to civilians and are deeply concerned about the escalation of the cycle of violence in the West Bank.”

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli army bulldozer during clashes in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinians threw stones as Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and laid siege to the camp [Zain Jaafar/AFP]

Jenin is among the areas in the northern West Bank where Israel has stepped up its raids over the past year in an attempt to quell growing Palestinian armed resistance.

Alef Sabbah, a political analyst who specializes in Israeli affairs, said Thursday’s operation in Jenin “should be understood as a signal – this is the first shot in an upcoming, larger Israeli operation.”

“The lack of response – neither Arab nor international – to what Israel is doing encourages it to continue its raids and killings,” Sabbagh told Al Jazeera.

“Attacking ambulances and hospitals, preventing care for the wounded, field executions – even the murder of Shirin Abu Akle – have not been held accountable. If there is no real, strong response, Israel will continue to do what it wants without punishment.”

Al Jazeera’s Shirin Abu Akle, an experienced correspondent covering the occupied Palestinian territories for over 25 years, was shot and killed last May while covering a raid in the Jenin refugee camp.

No one has yet been held accountable for her murder.

Al Jazeera Senior Political Analyst Mawan Bishara said that “in the international arena, the fight against terrorism sounds magical. He is able to justify anything and everything, even if it is completely false.”

While Israel justifies its actions on security grounds, the Palestinians “see this as a cynical ploy to humiliate the Palestinian Authority,” the analyst said.

The raid was carried out in the so-called Zone A, which is under Palestinian administrative and police control in accordance with the terms of the Oslo agreement.

“These young people from the refugee camp are just trying to protect themselves; it’s not like they go out to Israel and shoot Israelis,” Bishara added.

The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January rose to at least 29, including five children. At least 15 of those killed were from Jenin.

In 2022, more than 170 Palestinians were killed in such raids, many of them civilians.

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