Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinian gunmen in raid
According to Israeli security officials, Israeli forces killed five Palestinian gunmen in a raid on a West Bank refugee camp on Monday. The raid, which the military said was intended to arrest suspects allegedly involved in a botched attack on Israelis, would likely further escalate tensions in the region.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health did not immediately confirm the deaths, only saying that three were injured, one seriously.
The violence comes amid one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the early weeks of the new Israeli government, the most right-wing of all time, which has vowed to take a tough stance on the Palestinians.
The military said it was on duty to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack on a West Bank restaurant in which the attackers were allegedly thwarted by a weapons malfunction. The attackers then fled the scene, the military said, adding that they were members of the Hamas militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip and also has elements in the West Bank.
In Monday’s operation, the military said it was looking for the militant cell, which it said locked itself in a house in the refugee camp. During the search, troops encountered the gunmen and a firefight ensued. The military said several of the gunmen killed were involved in the attempted attack on the restaurant.
Israeli security officials said two of the five killed were Hamas militants involved in the attempted attack. The three others were gunmen who had exchanged fire with troops during the raid. The officers spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the raid with the media.
The raid comes days after an earlier raid on the Aqabat Jabr camp near the Palestinian city of Jericho, a desert oasis in an area of the West Bank that rarely sees such unrest, where troops were also searching for the suspects.
Since last month’s shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho — a closure that has placed the city under a semi-blockade, disrupting business operations and causing hour-long bottlenecks at checkpoints that even the Palestinians use Security forces impaired. recordings shown.
Monday’s violence comes days after an Israeli military attack on the Jenin refugee camp killed 10 Palestinians, mostly militants but also a 61-year-old woman. The next day, Palestinian gunfire outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.
The Israeli army has stepped up near-night raids in the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel last spring. In the last year and a half of escalating crackdowns, Jericho has remained a sort of sleepy desert town that’s been spared much of the violence.
In retaliation for last week’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp, the Palestinian Authority said it would stop security coordination with Israel.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem last year, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures from Israeli rights group B’Tselem. About 30 people were killed by Palestinians in Israel in 2022.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone-throwing youth protesting the raids and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.
Israel conquered the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians are looking for these areas for their hoped-for independent state.