According to Israeli security officials, Israeli commandos killed five Palestinian militants during a raid on a West Bank refugee camp on Monday. The raid, which the military claimed was intended to apprehend terrorists implicated in a failed attack against Israelis, was certain to increase tensions in the region.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health did not immediately confirm the fatalities, stating only that three people were injured, one of whom was in critical condition.
The violence occurs during one of the worst periods in recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict history and in the first weeks of Israel’s new, most right-wing government, which has pledged to take a harsh approach against the Palestinians.
The military stated that it was conducting operations to apprehend the suspects responsible for a botched shooting incident at a West Bank restaurant, where the attackers were purportedly foiled by a weapon malfunction. The attackers then fled the scene, according to the military, which added that they were members of the militant group Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip and also has members in the West Bank.
In its operation on Monday, the military said it was seeking for a militant group that had allegedly barricaded themselves inside a refugee camp residence. During the hunt, the troops encountered the gunmen, resulting in a gunfight. The military stated that several of the shooters who were killed participated in the attempted restaurant attack.
Two of the five slain, according to Israeli security officials, were Hamas members involved in the attempted attack. The remaining three were gunmen who had fired upon troops during the raid. Because they were not allowed to discuss the raid with the media, the officials talked on condition of anonymity.
The raid occurs days after a previous incursion in the Aqabat Jabr camp outside the Palestinian city of Jericho, a desert oasis in a region of the West Bank where such disturbance is rare, when Israelis were also seeking for the suspects.
Since the shooting last month at a nearby settlement, the Israeli military has restricted access to multiple routes leading into Jericho, placing the city under a semi-blockade and causing hours-long delays at checkpoints that have affected even Palestinian security officers, as evidenced by footage.
The violence on Monday occurs days after an Israeli military operation on the Jenin refugee camp killed ten Palestinians, the most of them were terrorists but also a 61-year-old lady. The following day, a Palestinian shooting incident outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem claimed the lives of seven individuals, including a 14-year-old.
On February 6, 2023, in Jericho in the occupied West Bank, journalists visit the scene of a raid by Israeli soldiers on an office where they claimed Palestinian militants were hiding.
Since a spate of deadly Palestinian strikes within Israel in the spring of last year, the Israeli army has intensified its nightly raids in the occupied West Bank. During the past year and a half of mounting raids, Jericho has remained a relatively peaceful, sleepy desert town.
In retribution for last week’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp, the Palestinian Authority has suspended security coordination with Israel.
According to statistics compiled by the Israeli rights organization B’Tselem, close to 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2017, making it the deadliest year in these areas since 2004. In 2022, over 30 Israelis were killed by Palestinians.
According to the Israeli army, the majority of Palestinians slain were militants. However, stone-throwing protestors and others who were not participating in clashes have also been slain.
In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel took the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem. These lands are desired by the Palestinians for their envisioned independent state.
»Israeli soldiers raid and murder five Palestinian gunmen, according to officials«