Jan 26, 2023 - World

Israeli forces kill 9 during West Bank raid, Palestinian health officials say

The Israeli raid took place in the Jenin refugee camp.

The Israeli operation took place in the Jenin refugee camp. Photo: Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israeli forces killed at least nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, on Thursday during a raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The latest: Two rockets were fired from Gaza and intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli military said late Thursday. The Israeli military had said earlier that it was preparing for possible rocket fire from Gaza in retaliation for the Jenin raid.

Driving the news: Earlier Thursday, the Israeli military said a gun battle with armed Islamic Jihad fighters took place when Israeli special forces entered the Jenin camp, a militant stronghold, in an attempt to arrest members of the armed Palestinian group. It's the deadliest single incident in the West Bank since the new Israeli government — the most right-wing in Israel's history — was sworn in a month ago.

  • The Israeli military said it carried out the raid after receiving intelligence about a group of Islamic Jihad operatives it suspected of carrying out armed attacks against Israeli soldiers. The group was planning more attacks, the Israeli military said.
  • The Israeli special forces initially entered the camp undetected by hiding inside a dairy products delivery truck, Palestinian sources say. When they arrived at the safe house where three of the Islamic Jihad operatives were staying, a gunfight ensued, the Israeli military said.
  • It was unclear exactly how many of the nine the Palestinian Health Ministry said were killed were militants. The Israeli military said its forces killed the three militants who were in the safe house and opened fire. Hamas said four of those killed were its fighters. Palestinian officials said one person killed was a 60-year-old woman. The IDF said it was examining that report.
  • At least 20 other Palestinians were injured. No injuries were reported among the Israeli special forces.

What they're saying: The Palestinian Presidency in a statement called the Israeli operation "a massacre."

  • Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the international silence encourages the Israeli government to commit crimes against the Palestinian people.
  • The Palestinian Authority later Thursday suspended its security coordination with Israel in response to the deadly raid.
  • Islamic Jihad official Khader Adnan told Al Jazeera the group will do whatever it takes to defend the Palestinian people. Al Jazeera reported that the Islamic Jihad sent messages to Israel through mediators that it is ready and prepared for a confrontation.

The big picture: Israeli forces have killed at least 28 Palestinians since the beginning of January. The Israeli military intensified its operations in some West Bank cities last year following several attacks inside Israel.

  • Thursday's escalation comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken's scheduled visit to the region.
  • Blinken is expected to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the situation in the West Bank.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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