Israeli security officials claim that five Palestinian gunmen were shot and killed in an Israeli raid on a West Bank refugee settlement on Monday. The military claimed that the raid was to detain suspects accused of attempting to attack Israelis. This was expected to further increase tensions.
Although the death was not confirmed by the Palestinian Health Ministry immediately, it stated that 3 people were hurt and one critically.
The violence comes amid one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the first weeks of Israel’s new government, its most right-wing ever, which has promised to take a tough stance against the Palestinians.
According to the military, it was trying to capture suspects in a shooting attack on a West Bank restaurant. The attackers were stopped by a malfunctioning weapon. They fled, according to military statements.
In Monday’s operation, the military said it was searching for the militant cell that it said had sealed itself inside a home in the refugee camp. The troops came across the gunmen during the search and an ensuing gun battle broke out. Military sources claimed that several of those who died were associated with the attack on the restaurant.
Israeli security officials stated that the two Hamas militants who were killed during the attempt at attack claimed to be among the victims. Two of the five killed were Hamas militants. The other three victims were gunmen, who exchanged fire with soldiers during the raid. Officials spoke under anonymity as they weren’t authorized to talk about the raid with media.
This raid follows a previous incursion at the Aqabat jabr camp near Jericho. It is a desert oasis located in an area in West Bank rarely experiencing such unrest.
Since the shooting last month at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho — a closure that has placed the city under a semi-blockade, disrupting business and creating hourslong bottlenecks at checkpoints that affected even Palestinian security forces, footage showed.
Monday’s violence comes days after an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp killed 10 Palestinians, mostly militants but also a 61-year-old woman. A Palestinian gunman opened fire on an east Jerusalem synagogue killing seven, including a young boy.
After a string of Palestinian attacks on Israel in spring last year, Israel’s army has intensified its raids into the occupied West Bank. Jericho has been largely untouched by violence in spite of its escalating raids over the last year.
The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for last week’s raid into the Jenin refugee camp, declared a halt to security coordination with Israel.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. In Israel, 30 Palestinians killed people in 2022.
According to Israeli forces, militants are responsible for most Palestinian deaths. However, stone-throwing youths who protested the incursions as well as others not involved with confrontations were also killed.
In 1967, Israel captured West Bank and Gaza Strip from Israel. These territories are coveted by the Palestinians to create their desired independent state.
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