Israeli forces kill at least 6 Palestinians in latest Jenin raid

Al-Jazeera  /  March 7, 2023

At least 11 people wounded, including two with serious injuries, the Palestinian health ministry says.

Israeli forces have killed at least six Palestinians and wounded 11 others during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.

Two of the wounded people had serious injuries, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Witnesses told AFP news agency that a house was besieged by the Israeli forces and hit with rockets. Footage circulating on social media showed helicopters over a column of military vehicles entering the city.

Israeli authorities said one of the Palestinian men they killed was behind the shooting of two brothers from an illegal Jewish settlement near the Palestinian village of Huwara last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said troops had “eliminated” the gunman who last month killed two Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Al-Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Ramallah, said that another raid by Israeli forces was also carried out on Tuesday evening in another refugee camp south of Nablus.

The army entered a building in the Askar refugee camp and arrested three men, including two sons of a 49-year-old man killed in Jenin.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, called the use of rockets in Jenin on Tuesday an act of “all-out war”, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Abu Rudeineh accused the Israeli government of being “responsible for this dangerous escalation which threatens to inflame the situation and destroy all efforts aimed at restoring stability”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken overnight reiterated calls for both sides to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, and the violence is also expected to be raised by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin when he visits Israel this week.

However, there has been no sign of any let up in the violence, ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover festival.

Overnight on Monday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Huwara, the scene of a violent rampage last week by dozens of settlers seeking revenge for the shooting of the two Israelis as they sat in their car.

Israeli army and border police forces dispersed crowds of what the military described as “a number of violent rioters” in Huwara. Videos shared on social media showed a group of black-clad youths attacking a Palestinian car before its driver managed to pull away.

“My wife was sitting in the back and she hugged our daughter to cover her,” said Omar Khalifa, who had just finished shopping at a supermarket and was in the car with his family when they were attacked.

“We could have lost her. There was real danger to our lives.”

Other footage appeared to show Israeli soldiers dancing together with settlers in the town on what was the Jewish festival of Purim. “Huwara has been conquered, gentlemen!” a voice is heard saying in Hebrew.

Israel’s military did not address a question about the footage of its soldiers dancing with settlers when it responded to a request for information on the incident from Reuters.

Last week, settlers torched dozens of cars and houses in Huwara after two brothers were shot by a Palestinian gunman as they sat in their car at a checkpoint nearby.

The rampage, described as a “pogrom” by a senior Israeli commander, triggered worldwide outrage and condemnation, which was increased when ultra-nationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has responsibility for aspects of the West Bank administration, said Huwara should be “erased”. Smotrich later offered a partial retraction.

Marwan Bishara, Al-Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said that Israel’s violent repression will do little to quash Palestinian resistance.

“The idea that you can simply contain Jenin by more violence has proven to be wrong over the years and decades. The refugee camps and the cities that the Israeli attack the most, where it killed the most, have turned to be the most important symbols of Palestinian resistance,” Bishara said.

“Hebron or Gaza or Jenin and others have proven to be the most resistant, the most steadfast, and we’re going to continue to see more Israeli raids, more Palestinian resistance, the cycle will continue.”

Settlers have killed at least five Palestinians in 2023 so far, while Israeli forces have killed at least 68 Palestinians this year. In the same period, 13 Israelis and one Ukrainian woman have been killed in apparently uncoordinated attacks.



Israeli forces kill six Palestinians in Jenin daytime raid

Ola Marshoud

Middle East Eye  /  March 7, 2023

Armed confrontations erupt after an undercover Israeli unit was spotted in the West Bank city.

​At least six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday in the latest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

The operation started around 3pm when an undercover Israeli unit was discovered in the Jenin refugee camp, eyewitnesses told Middle East Eye

Large military reinforcements followed with dozens of armoured vehicles, military helicopters, snipers, drones and bulldozers used in the raid. 

The Israeli military withdrew from the city after nearly three hours of heavy armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters.

Israeli media said two soldiers were wounded in the clashes and have been taken to a hospital in Israel for treatment. 

Among those killed in the raid is Abdel Fattah Hussain Kharousha, 49, the man Israel alleges is behind a shooting last month near Nablus city which left two Israeli settlers killed. 

Kharousha is a Hamas member who previously spent time in Israeli detention, according to local media. 

The Palestinian health ministry identified the other five killed as Mohammad Wael Gazzawi, 26, Mohammad Ahmad Khalouf, 22, Tareq Ziad Natour, 27, Ziad Amin al-Zareeni, 29, and Motasem Naser Sabbagh, 22. 

At least 26 more were wounded, three of them in critical condition, the ministry added.

The Palestine Authority (PA), which coordinates security in the West Bank with Israel, condemned the raid. 

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “The crime committed by the occupation forces reaffirms the Israeli government’s intention to thwart all regional and international efforts aimed at stopping all unilateral actions, which the Israeli side insists on continuing.” 

According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abu Rudeineh called the use of rockets and missiles to shell homes “an all-out war”. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli forces who took part in the operation in a statement.

“Our brave soldiers operated with surgical precision in the heart of the murderers’ den. I praise them and send well wishes to those wounded among our forces,” Netanyahu said.

‘We can’t step a foot outside’

Sari Sammour, a Jenin-based activist, told MEE that Israeli forces surrounded more than one building and attacked them with several missiles during the raid. One of the houses has been abandoned since the first Intifada, Sammour said.  

Another building that came under attack housed Iyyad al-Azmi, the father of Amjad al-Azmi who was recently killed by Israeli forces.

“They hit the house with a missile, it’s like a war outside, clashes and people killed everywhere,” Mohammad al-Azmi, Iyyad’s brother, told MEE. 

Iyyad was reportedly asked to surrender himself to the army. It was not immediately clear what happened to him. 

“We are stuck in the house, we can’t step a foot outside. Clashes are still ongoing,” Mohammad said during the raid. 

Palestinian medics and journalists said they also came under attack. 

The Palestine Red Crescent Society told local media it received several calls from inside the camp to evacuate the wounded. One Palestinian ambulance was reportedly hit with bullets and prevented from reaching people in need. 

Anas Huwaisha, a Palestinian reporter who was at the scene, told MEE he came under heavy fire from Israeli soldiers while covering the raid. He has not suffered injuries and has been forced to flee the scene.

Amid the heavy clashes, Palestinian fighters downed at least one surveillance drone, Huwaisha said.

The Jenin Brigade, a nascent armed group active in the northern West Bank city, and other Palestinian armed groups said earlier they were engaging Israeli soldiers in heavy armed clashes.

At the same time, another Israeli force raided parts of Nablus city and arrested three Palestinians.

Israeli officials said the target of the operation was Kharousha, saying he was responsible for killing two Israelis on 26 February while they drove their car through Huwwara town near Nablus.

The shooting was followed by a violent revenge rampage in Huwwara by hundreds of Israeli settlers living in settlements nearby. The violent riots left one Palestinian killed and dozens of homes and cars destroyed. 

Growing aggression 

Israeli forces have killed at least 71 Palestinians since January this year – which corresponds to a rate of nearly one killing every day.

It’s the bloodiest start of a year since 2000, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

At least 13 Israelis were killed by Palestinians in the same period. 

Large military raids like the one in Jenin on Tuesday were rare in the daytime until recently. However, there has been a notable shift in the army’s aggression in recent months. 

In another Jenin raid earlier this year, the Israeli military killed 10 Palestinians in a single day. Another similar large-scale operation in Nablus last month left 11 Palestinians killed, including at least four unarmed people. 

Nablus and Jenin have witnessed an uptick in armed resistance acts against Israeli targets in recent months.

With Muslim, Christian and Jewish holidays overlapping next month, many fear more deadly escalations could follow. 

CIA Director William Burns recently said current tensions in the West Bank bear an “unhappy resemblance” to the Second Intifada.

The threat of an uncontrollable outbreak of violence has prompted JordanEgypt and the US to initiate de-escalation efforts in recent months but it remains unclear if they will be able to contain the violence amid continuing Israeli attacks. 

Ola Marshoud is a Palestinian journalist and content creator based in Jenin