At least four Palestinians were killed and 44 wounded during an Israeli military attack and heavy clashes in Jenin on Wednesday morning, Palestinian officials said, making it one of the deadliest days in the West Bank this year, with more than 100 Palestinians killed.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the raid was related to an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed three people and that the suspects fought back with explosives and gunfire on Wednesday.
IDF forces entered the Jenin refugee camp “to capture two suspects involved in several recent shooting attacks,” the IDF said in a statement.
“While the two suspects were in the vicinity of the residence, the explosive device detonated and the suspects opened fire on the security forces. Security forces opened fire in accordance with standard operating procedures and killed both of the two suspects,” the IDF said.
One of those killed was identified by Palestinian and Israeli officials as Abdel al-Rahman Khazem, the brother of Raed Khazem, who carried out the shooting attack on the central Tel Aviv bar. Raed Khazem was killed in a shootout with Israeli security forces in Jaffa the morning after the attack in April.
Palestinian health officials identified the other three men killed on Wednesday as Mohammad Alauna, Ahmed Nazmi Alawaneh and Muhammad Abu Naseh.
According to the state-sponsored Palestinian news agency WAFA, “This morning a large military force raided Jenin and its refugee camp, firing in all directions and firing tear gas canisters, and surrounded and fired at the house of Raid’s father, Fathi Hazem. Abed.”
Videos from Jenin show several Israeli armored military vehicles passing through Jenin, as well as large plumes of fire and smoke from houses. Security video shows a group of armed Palestinians firing into the street. One was then shot in the head and fell to the ground. Local journalists have identified the man as Alawneh.
The encounter continued till midnight on Wednesday.
Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeneh said in a statement that “Israel’s occupation is playing with the lives of our Palestinian people and tampering with security and stability by continuing its policy of escalation.”
“Israel is still a state above international law and Israel and the United States of America have lost their credibility by demanding peace and stability and practicing all forms of escalation, killing and destruction against the Palestinian people on the ground. their land and their holy places,” Abu Rudeneh added.
It is already the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2015, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. More than 35 of the dead were in Jenin. Israel says most of those killed were violently engaged with soldiers during the military operation, but dozens of unarmed civilians have also been killed, human rights groups including B’Tselem said.
For months, Israel has been conducting regular raids on cities in the West Bank, with a particular focus on Jenin and Nablus, which it says are targeting militants and their weapons before they have a chance to cross into Israel and carry out attacks. The operation, dubbed “Breaking the Wave” by the IDF, was launched after a series of attacks on Israelis. At least 20 Israelis and foreigners have been killed so far this year in attacks targeting civilians and soldiers in Israel and the West Bank.