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‘Nine Palestinians killed’ in Israeli raid

Israeli troops have killed at least nine Palestinians during an arrest raid in a flashpoint area of the occupied West Bank, authorities say.

January 27, 2023
27 January 2023

Israeli forces have killed at least nine Palestinians, including a 60-year-old woman, and wounded several others during a raid in a flashpoint area of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials say.

The violence occurred during what Palestinian health officials described as a fierce operation in the Jenin refugee camp, a militant stronghold of the West Bank that has been a focus of nearly a year of Israeli arrest raids. 

The conflict spiked this month, with 29 Palestinians killed since the start of the year. 

It was not immediately clear how many of those killed on Thursday were affiliated with armed groups.

The fighting comes weeks into Israel’s new government, which has pledged to take a hard line against the Palestinians and ramp up settlement construction on lands Palestinians seek for their hoped-for state. 

It also comes days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in the region and push for steps that might improve daily life for the Palestinians.

The Israeli military said it was conducting the rare daytime operation because of intelligence it had received that a militant grouping linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has a major foothold in the camp, was set to carry out imminent attacks against Israelis. 

A gun battle erupted, during which the military said it targeted the militants. 

At least one of the dead was identified by Palestinians as a militant.

Images published by Palestinian media showed the charred exterior walls of a two-storey building and cinder blocks and other debris scattered on a street. 

The military said it entered the building where the suspects were located to detonate explosives it said were being used by the suspects.

Palestinian Health Minister May Al-Kaila said paramedics were struggling to reach the wounded amid the fighting. 

She also accused the military of firing tear gas at the pediatric ward of a hospital, causing children to choke. 

Video from the hospital showed women carrying children out of hospital rooms and into the corridor. 

The military said tear gas had likely wafted into the hospital from the clashes nearby.

Jenin hospital identified the woman killed as Magda Obaid and the Israeli military said it was looking into reports of her death. 

The Palestinian Health Ministry earlier identified another one of the dead as Saeb Azriqi, 24, who was brought to a hospital in critical condition after being shot, and died from his wounds. 

And the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade – an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority, claimed one of the dead, Izz al-Din Salahat, as a fighter. 

The ministry said at least 20 people were wounded.

Internationally-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff. 

Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the violence, calling on the international community to speak out against it.

Akram Rajoub, the governor of Jenin, told the Associated Press the military prevented medical teams from relocating the wounded and fired tear gas that seeped into the government hospital, affecting infants and interrupting surgeries.

The military said forces closed roads to facilitate their operation, which may have complicated the efforts of rescue teams to reach the wounded.

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