OCCUPIED WEST BANK — At least nine people were killed and around 100 injured in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin that began on Monday, according to Palestinian health officials and media reports.
This exceeded the toll of seven from an Israeli army raid in Jenin refugee camp two weeks ago which saw rare use of helicopter missile fire.
The latest figures from Palestinian health officials came shortly after midnight on Tuesday. They said around 100 people were injured, with 20 in serious conditions, it is reported.
Residents said Israel launched at least 10 air attacks in Jenin overnight on Monday, sending smoke billowing from the wreckage of buildings. A convoy of dozens of Israeli armoured vehicles also surrounded the refugee camp and launched a ground military operation, causing heavy damage to homes and roads, Al Jazeera reports.
The attacks on Monday came amid escalating violence in the West Bank, including the first Israeli drone assault in the area since 2006, increasing military raids on Jenin and northern occupied Palestinian territories and settler attacks in Palestinian villages.
Al Jazeera also reported that the Israeli military also announced the arrest of several “wanted Palestinians and the seizure of explosive devices”.
“Those are the homemade Palestinian explosives that wounded eight Israeli soldiers during last month’s Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp. This was something that caught the Israeli forces by surprise and led to the use of choppers to drop missiles on Palestinians. This is the first incident of its kind that we’ve seen in the refugee camp and in the occupied West Bank in roughly 20 years,” the report said.
A 60-year-old resident of the Jenin refugee camp, Afiyeh Jameel Yousef Sbeih, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army fired live ammunition into their home, injuring her niece.
Her niece, 25-year-old Hanaa Najeeb, who is studying to be a doctor, had just arrived for a visit from Jordan two days ago with her mother and were staying at Sbeih’s home.
“A bullet entered through the front door and hit my niece in the leg while she was in the bathroom. The bullet pierced her leg and went out from the other side,” Sbeih told Al Jazeera from the Ibn Sina hospital.
“We found at least three bullets on our front door, and others across the walls,” added Sbeih about their home in the Hawashiyeh neighbourhood of the Jenin refugee camp.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Jenin’s deputy governor Kamal Abu al-Rub said the Israeli army “is not only targeting people, but the infrastructure of the camp as well. They have cut off all electricity, telecommunications and water”.
“This is collective punishment for all residents of Jenin, and particularly the refugee camp,” Abu al-Rub said from Jenin, describing Israel’s actions inside the camp as “terrorism”.
“They are the ones [who] raid our areas and our homes, and it is our right to defend our dignity and honour because we are the rightful owners of this land,” Abu al-Rub said.
In a statement on Monday morning, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said it “condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric aggression of the occupation against our people in Jenin and its camp”, and held the Israeli government responsible.
It noted that the Israeli aggression targeted “defenceless civilians, including targeting ambulances, crews, and health centres, depriving them of treating the wounded, targeting mosques and homes, and destroying infrastructure”.
The ministry said it “calls for urgent international and American intervention to stop the aggression immediately, and calls on the International Criminal Court to break its silence and start holding the Israeli war criminals accountable”.
Source: Al Jazeera and Agencies
Cover photo: Palestinians run for cover during attacks from Israeli forces amid an Israeli military operation in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 3. — Reuters