Jul 3, 2023 - World

Israel launches massive deadly attack on West Bank city of Jenin

Smoke billows during an Israeli military operation in Jenin city in the occupied West Bank, on July 3, 2023.

Smoke billows during an Israeli military operation in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, on July 3. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Israeli military on Monday deployed hundreds of soldiers and launched air attacks on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, killing at least eight Palestinians and vowing to continue the operation for "as long as it takes."

The big picture: It's one of the largest assaults on a West Bank city in nearly 20 years.

  • The raid and drone strikes began early Monday, with Israel saying it had launched an operation targeting "terrorist infrastructures" in the densely populated Jenin refugee camp, which is a militant stronghold.
  • Gunfights between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants were reported to be taking place by Monday afternoon. At least 50 Palestinians have been injured, with 10 in critical condition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
  • The Jenin municipality accused Israel of "deliberately destroying" the city's "water networks’ main lines."

What they're saying: “What the Israeli occupation government is doing in the city of Jenin and its camp is a new war crime against our defenseless people,” Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.

  • The PA was holding an emergency meeting Monday evening local time about the escalating situation in Jenin.

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said the Israeli military will continue the operation for "as long as it takes."

  • "We want to break that mindset of a safe haven" for "terrorists," Hecht told reporters.

Neighboring Jordan and Eygpt as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation quickly condemned the raid.

  • The operation “constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law and obligations of the [Israeli] occupation," Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sinan al-Majali said in a statement.

UN envoy Tor Wennesland said on Twitter that the escalation "is very dangerous" and "reminds us of the extremely volatile & unpredictable situation across the occupied West Bank."

  • "All must ensure the civilian population is protected," he said. He added he has been in touch with "all relevant parties to urgently de-escalate the situation."

Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza said they will not abandon Jenin.

  • The "Israeli occupation’s attempts to take the battle to the streets of Jenin and the West Bank would be in vain, assuring that Jenin would not be left alone,” senior Islamic Jihad member Khaled Al-Batsh told Al Jazeera.

State of play: The Israeli military over the last year has stepped up its raids in Jenin, where Israel says several attacks against Israeli citizens have been planned and launched. The IDF also conducts near-daily raids in other Palestinian cities and towns.

  • The Israeli military has killed at least 130 Palestinians in the West Bank in this year, per the UN and news reports. Many have been militants but several civilians, including children, have also been killed.
  • Last month, the Israeli military killed several Palestinians, including two 15-year-olds, in a large-scale Jenin raid that included the use of armed drones for the first time in about two decades.
  • Nearly 30 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Arabs inside the West Bank and in Israel over the last year, AP reports.
  • At the same time, Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians and their homes and cars have increased as well.
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