Israel launches largest military assault in West Bank in years

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Israeli forces killed at the least eight Palestinians and wounded dozens extra because the Jewish state deployed armed drones and tons of of troops in one of many largest operations within the occupied West Financial institution for twenty years.

The assault on a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin which started within the early hours of Monday was the newest flare-up in a yr of spiralling violence that has fuelled fears that the Israeli-Palestinian battle is on the point of a broader escalation.

Israeli officers mentioned the raid was launched to focus on a “joint operational command centre” of the Jenin Brigades militant group as a part of an “intensive counter-terrorism effort”. Nonetheless, Israel denied it was planning a broader operation within the West Financial institution as a complete.

A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described the assault as a “new battle crime”.

Jamal Hweel, a political analyst who lives in Jenin, mentioned the raid was “the most important since 2002” when Israeli forces launched an assault on the refugee camp throughout a Palestinian rebellion generally known as the second intifada.

Monday’s raid, which concerned between 500 and 1,000 Israeli safety personnel, was the second time in as many weeks that Israel had launched drone strikes within the West Financial institution, and underscored the rising firepower its navy was utilizing to focus on Palestinian militants. Israel had not beforehand deployed armed drones within the West Financial institution since 2006.

The Palestinian well being ministry mentioned that, along with the fatalities on Monday, at the least 50 individuals had been wounded, 10 of them critically. Hweel mentioned electrical energy within the camp had been reduce, and that the web was not working.

The refugee camp in Jenin, a metropolis within the West Financial institution’s north-west, is densely populated with about 14,000 individuals, and has turn into a key militant stronghold. Information businesses reported that a number of drones had been seen flying overhead as sounds of gunfire and explosions might be heard.

This yr is on target to be the bloodiest for greater than a decade within the West Financial institution, the place Israeli forces have been conducting near-nightly raids since a spate of Palestinian assaults on Israelis that started final spring.

In response to UN knowledge, which doesn’t embrace the newest violence, Israeli forces have killed 114 Palestinians within the West Financial institution to date this yr, whereas Palestinians have killed 16 Israelis within the territory.

Palestinians need the West Financial institution to be the center of a future state, however Israel has occupied the territory since 1967, and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right authorities has superior plans to extend settlements throughout the territory because it took workplace in December.

A lot of the worldwide group considers the settlements to be unlawful.

Netanyahu’s authorities consists of non secular Zionist settlers who need Israel to annex the West Financial institution and who’ve been urging the navy to take a extra aggressive strategy within the territory.

In addition to the Israeli raids within the West Financial institution there was a rise in violence between Palestinians and Jewish settlers.

Two weeks in the past, tons of of settlers torched Palestinian automobiles and homes within the West Financial institution as a part of a sequence of vigilante assaults after Palestinian gunmen killed 4 Israelis and injured 4 extra in an assault close to a settlement.

That was the deadliest towards Israelis since a capturing in a settlement in East Jerusalem in January, and got here a day after Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians, together with a 15-year-old, and wounded greater than 90 throughout a raid on Jenin.

The Israeli offensive triggered a multi-hour gun battle, throughout which the Jewish state deployed helicopter gunships over the West Financial institution for the primary time for the reason that second intifada.

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