Israeli military operation leaves four Palestinians dead in Jenin, West Bank
The parents of Nidal Khazim and Youssef Shreem, two of the Palestinians killed during an Israeli military operation on Thursday.
Photo: AFP – JAAFAR ASHTIYEH
A military operation by the Israeli army left at least four Palestinians dead. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the operation took place in Jenin, an area north of the occupied West Bank. Among the deceased was a 16-year-old teenager.
The ministry reported that in Jenin, a Palestinian settlement stronghold, another 23 people were injured and had to be hospitalized.
“Four martyrs were shot by the (Israeli) occupation in Jenin,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Undercover special forces of the occupation army infiltrated the center of the city of Jenin, in a street full of inhabitants, and executed three young men by shooting them directly,” said the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA.
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Israeli forces called in military reinforcements both in the city and in the Jenin refugee camp, “and began firing live bullets at citizens and their homes,” WAFA added. For its part, the Israeli Army confirmed that its uniformed officers operated in Jenin, where they “neutralized two terrorist agents of Islamic Jihad.”
The Ministry explained that the four dead are Omar Awadin, 16 years old; Nidal Jazim, 28; Yusef Shrim, 29, and Luay Sghir, 37.
Nidal Jazim “carried out important terrorist activities”, while Yusef Shrem “manufactured explosives and fired at Israeli soldiers,” the Army explained, indicating that “another suspect was neutralized after trying to attack the forces with a crowbar.”
During the military operation, “there was an exchange of fire between the forces and several armed men, and violent riots were instigated in which the suspects threw stones at the forces,” added the Army, which did not record any injuries among its troops.
The deaths on Thursday bring to 85 the number of Palestinians who have lost their lives in the area in violent incidents with Israel so far this year, including 16 minors. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have entered a new violent spiral, especially since one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history came to power at the end of December, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Sunday, three Palestinian fighters were killed in a firefight with Israeli soldiers near Nablus, also in the northern West Bank.
The Israeli army announced on Wednesday that two days earlier it had killed a “terrorist” who was wearing an explosives belt and who, according to the source, had entered the country from Lebanon.
This is the start of the deadliest year in the area since 2000, with an average of more than one Palestinian killed per day, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health count. On the Israeli side, 14 people have died as victims of Palestinian attacks in Israel or in settler settlements. The latest wave of violence sparked at the end of March last year when the Israeli Army launched an operation consisting of almost daily raids, mainly in the northern occupied West Bank, in response to a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
These raids often escalate into clashes with local militiamen, but many of the victims are civilians. This year, army operations have turned particularly deadly: in late January, a raid left 10 Palestinians dead in the Jenin countryside; in February, an operation in Nablus left 11 dead; and this month, another raid in Jenin left seven Palestinians dead.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, vowed Thursday that the “crime” committed in Jenin “will not go unanswered.”
Another Palestinian armed group, Islamic Jihad, ensured that Israel would “pay the price for these crimes.”
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