At least 11 people wounded, including two with serious injuries, the Palestinian health ministry says.
JENIN — Israeli forces stormed into a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday, killing at least six Palestinians in the latest in a series of deadly military raids carried out in broad daylight.
Two of the wounded people had serious injuries, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Witnesses told AFP news agency that a house was besieged by the Israeli forces and hit with rockets. Footage circulating on social media showed helicopters over a column of military vehicles entering the city.
Israeli authorities said one of the Palestinian men they killed was behind the shooting of two brothers from an illegal settlement near the Palestinian village of Huwara last week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said troops had “eliminated” the gunman who last month killed two Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Ramallah, said that another raid by Israeli forces was also carried out on Tuesday evening in another refugee camp south of Nablus.
The army entered a building in the Askar refugee camp and arrested three men, including two sons of a 49-year-old man killed in Jenin.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, called the use of rockets in Jenin on Tuesday an act of “all-out war”, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Abu Rudeineh accused the Israeli government of being “responsible for this dangerous escalation which threatens to inflame the situation and destroy all efforts aimed at restoring stability”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken overnight reiterated calls for both sides to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, and the violence is also expected to be raised by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin when he visits Israel this week.
However, there has been no sign of any let up in the violence, ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover festival.
Overnight on Monday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Huwara, the scene of a violent rampage last week by dozens of settlers seeking revenge for the shooting of the two Israelis as they sat in their car.
Israeli army and border police forces dispersed crowds of what the military described as “a number of violent rioters” in Huwara. Videos shared on social media showed a group of black-clad youths attacking a Palestinian car before its driver managed to pull away.
“My wife was sitting in the back and she hugged our daughter to cover her,” said Omar Khalifa, who had just finished shopping at a supermarket and was in the car with his family when they were attacked.
“We could have lost her. There was real danger to our lives.”
Other footage appeared to show Israeli soldiers dancing together with Jewish settlers in the town on what was the Jewish festival of Purim. “Huwara has been conquered, gentlemen!” a voice is heard saying in Hebrew.
Israel’s military did not address a question about the footage of its soldiers dancing with settlers when it responded to a request for information on the incident from Reuters.
Last week, settlers torched dozens of cars and houses in Huwara after two brothers were shot by a Palestinian gunman as they sat in their car at a checkpoint nearby.
The rampage, described as a “pogrom” by a senior Israeli commander, triggered worldwide outrage and condemnation, which was increased when ultra-nationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has responsibility for aspects of the West Bank administration, said Huwara should be “erased”. Smotrich later offered a partial retraction.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said that Israel’s violent repression will do little to quash Palestinian resistance.
“The idea that you can simply contain Jenin by more violence has proven to be wrong over the years and decades. The refugee camps and the cities that the Israeli attack the most, where it killed the most, have turned to be the most important symbols of Palestinian resistance,” Bishara said.
“Hebron or Gaza or Jenin and others have proven to be the most resistant, the most steadfast, and we’re going to continue to see more Israeli raids, more Palestinian resistance, the cycle will continue.”
Settlers have killed at least five Palestinians in 2023 so far, while Israeli forces have killed at least 68 Palestinians this year. In the same period, 13 Israelis and one Ukrainian woman have been killed in apparently uncoordinated attacks. (Al Jazeera and Agencies)
Photo: People gather along a road during an Israeli army raid in Jenin. — AFP