Israel raid on West Bank militants kills four Palestinians
Israeli forces killed four Palestinians on Thursday including a teenager in the occupied West Bank, the latest deadly raid on Jenin that Israel said targeted “armed suspects”.
Thousands of masked, heavily armed men burst into the air as they paraded the streets for the funerals of the four dead, including two identified as militants by Palestinian groups and the Israeli army.
The Israeli army initially said troops had “neutralized” two suspected militants in the northern West Bank city, accusing them of “terrorist activities”.
An army spokesman later said that “the meaning of the armed gunmen on the forces, the forces responded with live fire.”
One of those killed was neutralized “after he tried to attack the forces with a gallows”.
The Palestinian health ministry said another 23 people were injured in the raid, five of them seriously.
He identified those killed as Omar Awadin, 16, Luay al-Zughair, 37, Nidal Khazim, 28 and Youssef Shreem, 29.
Islamic Jihad claimed Khazim as one of its members, while Hamas’s armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said Shreem belonged to their group. The Israeli statement claimed that both were members of Islamic Jihad.
In a statement, Islamic Jihad said Israel will “pay the price for these crimes”.
– ‘Cycle of violence’ –
Mahmoud al-Saadi of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin told AFP that “an Israeli covert unit entered Abu Bakr street in the center of the city”.
The raid comes days before Palestinian and Israeli officials are scheduled to meet on Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks aimed at reducing tensions ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, called the latest raid a “crime”, warning that it will not go “without an answer”.
Israeli forces have launched numerous raids on the city of Jenin and its refugee camp of the same name in recent months targeting Palestinian militias.
These raids have killed more than 20 Palestinians since the beginning of the year.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day War.
The United Nations rejected “another example of an alarming cycle of violence”, and a spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, urged “the international community to redouble its efforts to end this cycle of violence”.
Sinan Majali, a spokesperson for the Jordanian foreign ministry, called for an “immediate halt to the escalation” and emphasized “the need to protect Palestinian cities from these and repeated attacks”.
Since the beginning of the year, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has claimed the lives of 85 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.
Thirteen Israeli adults and children, including members of the security forces and civilians, and one Ukrainian civilian were killed over the same period, according to AFP tallies based on official sources from both sides.
On Tuesday, a senior Hamas official warned Israel that his group would respond to any “violations” at Jerusalem’s holy sites during Ramadan, which begins later in March.
Saleh al-Aruri, deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, said that the increased risk “depends entirely on violations of the Israeli occupation throughout Palestine and at the Al-Aqsa mosque” located in eastern Jerusalem. .
Al-Aqsa, a mosque compound administered in Jordan, is the third holiest site in Islam. It is based on what Jews call the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.