13 Palestinians wounded in Israeli army raid on Jericho camp

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  February 4, 2023

Armed clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians ensue during arrest campaign.

At least 13 Palestinians were wounded on Saturday during an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in Jericho, east of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army stormed the Aqbat refugee camp and surrounded a house during an early morning arrest raid, resulting in a gunfire exchange between soldiers and residents, according to Palestinian state news agency WAFA.

Israeli media, meanwhile, said that the army had fired an anti-tank guided missile at the camp.

Last week, Governor Jihad Abu al-Assal accused Israel of placing Jericho under “siege” after a Palestinian opened fire towards a restaurant at a junction near the city. No injuries were reported from the incident.

The Palestinian health ministry said that Israeli forces had impeded medical teams from reaching the area during Saturday’s raid, before the wounded were taken to hospital. Three of the wounded are said to be in serious condition.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said that the army had detained nine Palestinians, after raiding and searching their homes.

Israeli forces also partially demolished three houses and destroyed a poultry farm in the camp.

Wafa reported that Jericho has been surrounded since last Saturday, when the Israeli army erected barriers and cement blocks at the city’s entrance.

Spike in violence

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces on Friday fatally shot Abdullah Sami Qalalweh, a 26-year-old Palestinian, near the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.

The Israeli military claimed that Qalalweh had approached a military outpost near an army base in the Huwara area, and refused orders to stop. Troops fired shots into the air before a soldier shot and killed him. 

The army confirmed to AFP that Qalalweh was unarmed.

Qalaweh’s death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers this year to 36, 35 of whom were killed in January – the deadliest month in the West Bank since 2015.

More than half of those killed were in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, which, along with Nablus, has been the focus of near-nightly search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces since last year. 

Violence has spiked in recent days following an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp last week in which 10 Palestinians were killed. 

A day after the Jenin raid, a Palestinian gunman killed seven people in a shooting attack on Saturday in an occupied East Jerusalem Jewish settlement.

The following weekend, Palestinians across the West Bank experienced a spike in Jewish settler attacks. On 29 January, settlers carried out 144 attacks against Palestinians and their properties in Nablus alone. 

According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.


Palestinians wounded after Israeli forces raid camp in West Bank

Al-Jazeera  /  February 4, 2023

At least 13 Palestinians have been injured after Israeli forces raided the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp to arrest 10 people.

At least 13 Palestinians have been injured, two of them seriously, after Israeli forces fired bullets, missile and tear gas during a raid of the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho city in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Israeli forces fired an anti-tank guided missile during the raid to arrest Palestinians, Israeli radio confirmed.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society accused Israel of blocking access to ambulances. They were eventually allowed to treat the wounded after the operation ended.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the five-hour raid was “a continuation” of the incident from last Saturday in Jenin, near Jericho.

“Jericho, a city of 37,000 people, has been essentially closed off by the Israeli military for a week as Israeli forces hunted for suspects in a drive-by shooting near an illegal Israeli settlement not far from Jericho.

“The Israeli forces have arrested 10 people which among them, we understand, were the suspects wanted for that shooting,” Smith said.

Saturday’s raid comes a week after Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp, the largest military raid on the camp in the northern occupied West Bank since 2002.

“This comes really as part of a very violent beginning of the year in the occupied West Bank – 36 Palestinians have been killed so far,” Al Jazeera’s Smith said.

“And all of this on the back of this new far-right Israeli government – which has a cabinet minister in it, elected by settlers determined to advance the settlement project in the occupied West Bank and make life even harder for Palestinians than it already is.”

Killings continue

Aqbat Jabr, one of 19 Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, is home to more than 8,000 people. The United Nations Refugee Agency says people there have inadequate shelter and sewage facilities.

The recent surge in killings by Israeli forces comes as part of intensified nightly raids, particularly in the northern occupied cities of Jenin and Nablus, under the banner of crushing limited Palestinian armed resistance against Israeli occupation.

Civilians confronting Israeli forces during raids and innocent bystanders have been killed, as well as Palestinian fighters in targeted assassinations and during armed clashes.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to arm Israelis with guns amid escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territory. The measures came in the wake of the killing of seven Israelis by a Palestinian in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Friday, Israeli forces shot dead an unarmed Palestinian man, Abdullah Sami Qalalweh, 26, in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The toll of 36 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces so far this year includes eight children and an elderly woman, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Separately on Friday, the United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk called on Israel “to ensure that all operations of its security forces in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, are carried out with full respect for international human rights law”.

He stressed adherence to “the rules regulating the use of force in law enforcement operations”, according to a statement from his office.