Middle East Eye / September 19, 2023
Israel’s drone attack on Jenin is the latest assault on the refugee camp amid rising violence.
Israeli forces on Tuesday killed three Palestinians during a drone-assisted assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, while one Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces along the separation fence with the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said.
The Palestinian health ministry reported three deaths in Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian resistance, which has witnessed heavy assaults by the Israeli military in recent months.
The ministry added in a statement that “about 30 people were wounded by occupation (Israeli) fire in Jenin”, including those in critical condition.
The Israeli army confirmed troops were operating in Jenin on Tuesday evening and said a drone struck the camp, without elaborating.
Israel’s Defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said troops were involved in a “necessary” operation “to thwart terrorist activities”.
Mahmoud Sadi, Jenin director of the Palestinian Red Crescent, reported the “sound of explosives and shooting” which were impeding rescuers’ access to the site of the violence.
Jenin’s deputy governor, Kamal Abu al-Rub, said the Israeli army had “targeted a house used as a hideout by a wanted Palestinian”.
Israel launched a deadly offensive on the city in the occupied West Bank’s north in July. Using bombs and bulldozers, Israeli forces levelled much of the infrastructure in the refugee camp, which is home to 14,000 Palestinians, killing 13 people including children.
Jenin is nominally under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), but the PA has lost its grip on the city and other parts of the West Bank as a new generation of Palestinian resistance has emerged.
In recent days, violence has flared against Palestinians along the separation fence of the blockaded Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, a Palestinian was killed by “occupation (Israeli) bullets”, said the Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza.
The Israeli army said hundreds of “rioters” gathered near the fence and “a number of explosive devices were activated”.
“IDF (army) soldiers operated in the area with riot dispersal means and sniper fire. Several hits were identified,” it added in a statement.
The violence in Gaza follows an Israeli announcement on Sunday saying that Israel would keep the key Erez crossing shut following a “security assessment”.
“The reopening of the crossing will be subject to ongoing evaluation based on the evolving situation in the region,” said COGAT, a unit of the Israeli Defence ministry responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs.
Thousands of Palestinian workers from Gaza were blocked from entering Israel due to the closure, which an Israeli NGO, Gisha, condemned as “collective punishment”.
Israel has issued work permits to some 18,500 Palestinians in Gaza, COGAT said on Tuesday.
This year is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest in the occupied West Bank. According to a tally by Middle East Eye, at least 222 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year, including 38 children.
A total of 185 people have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Another 37 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed at least 30 Israelis in the same period, including six children.