Palestinians carry the body of one of the 9 reported victims killed in an Israeli raid on the West Bank's Jenin refugee camp, as they begin his funeral procession in the city of the same name, on January 26, 2023. PHOTO AFP JENIN, West Bank Israeli commandos killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and wounded 12 others during clashes with gunmen on Thursday in a flashpoint town in the occupied West Bank, witnesses and medics said.
The Israeli military sent special forces into Jenin to detain members of the Islamic Jihad armed group suspected of having carried out and planned multiple major terror attacks, shooting several of them after they opened fire.
Islamic Jihad confirmed fighting the Israeli forces as they carried out the unusually deep raid into Jenin's refugee camp, a militant bastion. Hamas, another Islamist group, said its men took part in the fighting.
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The death toll - the highest in Jenin in years - drew a warning from Islamic Jihad that its truce with Israel, called after a brief exchange of fire across the Gaza Strip border last year, could be in danger.
We contacted the mediators and told them that what is happening in Jenin is an Israeli war against the Palestinian people and that it doesn't stop at Jenin. If it continues, it might not be limited to Jenin, an Islamic Jihad official said.
Local youths threw rocks at army vehicles at the entrances to the camp's cramped alleyways. Gunfire echoed as well as occasional explosions as militants set off improvised bombs.
As the troops withdrew and the smoke and tear gas cleared, civilians who had stayed away streamed into the camp to check on casualties. A two-story building that had been the focus of the fighting was left with heavy damage.
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There were no Israeli casualties. At least one Palestinian was detained during the raid, the military statement said.
In the northern West Bank, Israel has intensified its raids over the past year after local men carried out street attacks in its cities. The violence has clouded long-stalked US-sponsored talks on Palestinians statehood.
Palestinian support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been rallied due to the stalemate, which refuses coexistence with Israel, where the new right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu includes members opposed to Palestinian statehood.
The Palestinian health ministry described the nine deaths in Jenin as an elderly woman and eight men. There were no more details available on their identities. Since January 1, at least 29 Palestinians, including civilians and gunmen, have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, according to the ministry.