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Tense but calm after deadly Jenin raid triggers Israel-Gaza rocket fire exchange | Palestinian territories

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories remained tense but calm after a shootout between Gaza and Israel triggered by a deadly raid in the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) entered the Jenin refugee camp in the north of the occupied territory around 7 a.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Thursday, acting on intelligence suggesting a cell linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad was planning imminent attacks, the army says in the statement.

In the ensuing heavy firefight, two civilians and seven men claimed by Palestinian militants were killed. Several camp residents said the violence was the worst they had witnessed since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in the 2000s. The death toll from the raid is the highest of any Israeli operation recorded by the United Nations since registration began in 2005.

Events in Jenin on Thursday led the Palestinian Authority, which has limited powers in the West Bank, to announce a suspension of security cooperation with Israel and sparked confrontations elsewhere, with two more Palestinians shot dead by soldiers in protests that turned violent. at checkpoints near Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

On Friday night, six rockets were fired from the Islamist-controlled Gaza Strip towards southern Israel, four of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. The Israel Defense Forces responded by bombing two military installations in central Gaza. Both Gaza and Israeli fire appeared to be limited in scope, and neither side reported casualties.

Genin gaza map israel

The leader of the Islamic Jihad, a smaller and more militant group than the rulers of the sector, Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack from Gaza during a rally in Gaza City on Friday that drew thousands of people.

Efforts by international mediators to defuse tensions appear to have been successful, and there have been no signs of an immediate escalation in the war, like the one that has seen repeatedly between Israel and the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007.

The often-violent al-Aqsa Mosque complex on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount remained calm during Friday prayers, which were accompanied by a large Israeli police presence.

However, fears that the unresolvable conflict could spiral out of control again have not dissipated. Thursday’s events come against the backdrop of a nine-month Israeli military campaign against Palestinian groups in Jenin and nearby Nablus, launched in response to a deadly wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks last spring.

In 2022, some 250 Palestinians in the West Bank and 30 Israelis were killed, making last year the bloodiest since 2004. ministry. So far this month, 31 Palestinians have been killed.

Recently released polls show that support for the dormant peace process on both sides has hit an all-time low, and many fear that the recent election of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history will further stoke tensions.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to travel to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank for talks next week. In a statement released Thursday, the State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by the violence and called on both sides to de-escalate.

The UN, Egypt and Qatar also called for calm, Palestinian officials said, while the UN Security Council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the deteriorating security situation.

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