Israeli forces have raided the West Financial institution metropolis of Jenin, finishing up a strike that residents stated concerned a missile fired from the air, and setting off a gunbattle that killed at the very least three folks.
With the sounds of gunfire and explosives heard throughout town hours after the strike and drones clearly audible overhead, the Jenin Brigades, a unit made up of various militant teams based mostly within the metropolis’s massive refugee camp, stated it was participating the Israeli forces.
“What’s going on within the refugee camp is actual conflict,” stated Palestinian ambulance driver, Khaled Alahmad. “There have been strikes from the sky focusing on the camp, each time we drive in round 5 to seven ambulances and we come again full with injured folks.”
The Israeli navy stated its forces struck a constructing that served as a command centre for fighters from the Jenin Brigades in what it described as an intensive counterterrorism effort within the West Financial institution.
At the very least six drones could possibly be seen circling over town however the navy declined to specify whether or not Monday’s operations included a drone strike, which had not been seen within the West Financial institution for greater than 15 years till a strike final month killed three militant gunmen close to Jenin.
Nevertheless, the obvious scale of the raid underlined the significance of Jenin within the violence that has surged throughout the occupied West Financial institution for greater than a yr.
Tons of of armed fighters from militant teams together with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah are based mostly within the refugee camp, which has been hit by a sequence of main raids by Israeli forces because the begin of the yr.
As daylight broke on Monday, thick black smoke from burning tyres set alight by residents swirled via the streets whereas calls to assist the fighters rang out from loudspeakers in mosques.
The Palestinian well being ministry confirmed at the very least three folks had been killed in Jenin, whereas one other man was killed within the metropolis of Ramallah after being shot within the head at a checkpoint.
The Israeli navy stated the goal functioned as an “superior commentary and reconnaissance centre” and a weapons and explosives web site in addition to a coordination and communications hub for the militant fighters.
Solely days earlier than final month’s drone strike, the military used helicopter gunships to assist extract troops and automobiles from a raid on town, after fighters used explosives in opposition to a power despatched in to arrest two militant suspects.
The escalating violence within the West Financial institution over the previous 15 months has brought on mounting worldwide alarm, with common military raids in cities like Jenin, a sequence of lethal assaults by Palestinians in opposition to Israelis and rampages by Jewish settler mobs in opposition to Palestinian villages.
Australian Related Press