JENIN: Israeli troops killed three Palestinians on Thursday in their latest deadly raid on the flashpoint city of Jenin, Palestinian health officials said, as violence surges in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces said no troops were hurt in an exchange of fire in Jenin, during one of scores of near-daily raids it has carried out in recent months following a series of deadly attacks on Israelis.
The Palestinian health ministry said three people were killed “by bullets from the Israeli occupation during its aggression in Jenin at dawn today”. The Israeli military said troops entered Jenin to detain people “suspected of involvement in terrorist activity”.
“The soldiers operated while being targeted with direct fire and responded with live fire,” the army said in a statement.
Mahmud al-Saadi, head of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin, said an ambulance crew came under fire “from a building where Israeli snipers were present” while it was evacuating a wounded person. The Israeli military said it was “not aware” of such allegations. The Islamic Jihad militant group said its fighters engaged in “fierce clashes” with Israeli forces in Jenin.
Jenin’s Ibn Sina hospital identified the dead as Atta Shalabi, Sidqi Zakarneh and Tariq Damej.
Mourners gathered as Palestinians carried the body of one of those killed through the streets for his funeral procession.
The Israeli army said it had carried out multiple operations across the West Bank overnight to arrest wanted suspects in cities including Bethlehem and Ramallah.
Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank are nominally under the control of the Palestinian Authority and its security forces.
A surge in bloodshed this year has seen 26 Israelis and at least 150 Palestinians killed across Israel and the West Bank.
The toll includes more than 40 Palestinians killed during Israeli operations in the Jenin area, among them children as young as 12 and veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as well as militants.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the international community “to protect our people” amid ongoing “Palestinian bloodshed”.
In the West Bank town of Silwad, Palestinians gathered for the funeral of Muhajid Mahmud Hamed, 32, killed by Israeli troops on Wednesday.
He was killed following what the army said was a drive-by shooting at a military post.
The European Union said it was “greatly concerned about the increasing level of violence”.
A US State Department spokesman called Friday “for all parties to do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation”.
Israel has occupied the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, since the Six-Day War of 1967. Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which rules Gaza, described the latest killings in the West Bank as “cowardly assassinations” by Israeli forces.
“We call on the masses of our people in the West Bank and the revolutionary youth to escalate the resistance” against the Israeli occupation, it said.
Gaza was hit by three days of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in August in which 49 Palestinians were killed.
Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022