Middle East Eye / September 24, 2023
Overnight raid targeted Nour Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm as Palestinian official warns of ‘dangerous’ Israeli escalation.
Israeli forces launched a large-scale overnight incursion into Tulkarm that was met by local resistance, according to the Palestinian news agency (WAFA).
Abdurrahman Suleiman Abu Daghash, 32, and Asaad Jab’awi, 21, were shot by Israeli forces and were pronounced dead at the Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital in Tulkarm. This brings the death toll in Israeli incursions since Tuesday to eight Palestinians.
The Israeli raid also resulted in significant damage to the city’s infrastructure, with the main road torn up and water pipes severed.
Dozens of Israeli vehicles, supported by a large military bulldozer, stormed the city from several directions, reaching the Nour Shams refugee camp and besieging it for several hours.
Palestinian fighters responded with explosive devices and gunfire.
The Israeli army said in a statement that it had dismantled an “operational command centre” in a building, which allegedly included a large number of explosive devices.
“During the activity, suspects opened fire and hurled explosive devices at the forces, who responded with live fire,” the army said.
Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the “dangerous” Israeli escalation against Palestinians, including Sunday’s raid.
Rudeina said the Israeli occupation is “waging a continuous war against Palestinians which threatened to ignite the region into conflict”, according to statements published by WAFA news agency.
Israeli forces killed three Palestinians on 19 September in a drone-assisted assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, while another died of his wounds on 20 September.
This year is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest in the occupied West Bank.
At least 224 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year, including 38 children, according to a tally by Middle East Eye.
A total of 187 people have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Another 37 have been killed in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians have killed at least 30 Israelis in the same period, including six children.
A 2023 report commissioned by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has called for Israel’s “immediate and unconditional” withdrawal from the West Bank, describing the occupation of the Palestinian territory as illegal under international law.
The annual report, released last month, found that Israel had violated several norms of international law to meet the conditions for the occupation to be deemed illegal, including moving to annex parts of the occupied territory, breaching rights of the occupied people, and instituting practices of apartheid.
Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since seizing the land from Jordan in the 1967 war.
In 1980, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem and has since consolidated its control of the West Bank. In 2023, under the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has approved the highest number on record of settlements in the territory, considered illegal under international law.
Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in West Bank raid, Hamas, emergency workers say
Reuters / September 24, 2023
TULKARM, West Bank – Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including a fighter of the Islamist Hamas group, during a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank on Sunday, emergency workers and Hamas said, while in Gaza Israeli strikes hit security posts for a second day.
In the latest round of violence, Israeli forces raided the Nur Shams camp near the West Bank city of Tulkarm in the early hours of Sunday morning, setting off an hours-long gun battle with Palestinian fighters, witnesses said.
The Israeli military said it conducted “counterterrorism activity” in the camp, dismantling an operational command centre equipped with computers and surveillance cameras and uncovering dozens of explosive devices and bomb-making components.
“During the activity, suspects opened fire and hurled explosive devices at the forces, who responded with live fire. Hits were identified,” the military said in a statement, adding that an Israeli soldier was moderately wounded.
Hamas, which has been extending its reach away from its base in Gaza and into the West Bank, said one of the men who were killed, 21-year-old Osaid Abu Ali, was a member of its armed wing.
The family of the other man, 32-year-old Abdel-Rahman Abu Daghash, said he had stepped on to the roof of his house to observe what was going on when he was killed by a sniper.
“He went up to the rooftop to film the ambulances. He barely had the chance to look and the sniper targeted him,” said his brother Mo’men Abu Daghash. “He has nothing to do with it and he has kids and his wife is about to give birth.”
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Violence in the West Bank has raged for more than a year, with stepped-up Israeli military raids, increased settler assaults on Palestinian villages, and a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
In the Nur Shams camp, residents took stock of rubble-strewn roads and buildings damaged during an operation that witnesses said lasted around six hours.
The military said special engineering vehicles dug up roads in the camp, uncovering a large number of concealed bombs and setting off at least one roadside bomb.
For much of the year, the turmoil in the West Bank has overshadowed the situation in Gaza, the blockaded coastal enclave run by Hamas, but in recent days groups of youths have held violent protests along the separation fence, throwing stones and improvised explosives and launching incendiary balloons towards Israel.
On Sunday, at least five Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces, the health ministry said.
By late afternoon, the Israeli military said it conducted a second day of strikes against Hamas checkpoints in Gaza close to where rioters threw an explosive device towards its soldiers. There was no word on any casualties.
In a separate incident, the Israeli military said it had detained eight students from Bir Zeit University in the West bank whom it described as wanted suspects linked to Hamas, and whom it said planned to carry out an attack in the immediate future.
Additional reporting by Nidal Al Mughrabi in Gaza; writing by James Mackenzie; editing by Andrew Heavens and David Holmes