JERUSALEM/ WEST BANK: Israeli troops have martyred nine more Palestinians in one of the deadliest days in the occupied West Bank since Israeli raids intensified at the start of last year.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 20 others were wounded with live ammunition in the raid on the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, which Palestinians have described as a “massacre”. Four of them were in critical condition.
The dead included an elderly woman, according to Palestinian officials. She was identified as Magda Obaid by the Jenin hospital authorities.
Israeli forces, who withdrew from Jenin after the killings, said they were looking into reports of the woman’s death.
Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, an armed militia affiliated with the Palestinian political party Fatah said the dead included one of its fighters, Izz al-Din Salahat.
According to the health ministry, another person, Saeb Azriqi, 24, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.
It said the situation on the ground was very difficult, with injured people continuously reaching hospitals, as it accused Israeli forces of obstructing ambulances and medics.
“There is an invasion that is unprecedented … in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries,” Wissam Baker, head of Jenin public hospital, told media.
“The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs who was on the floor, but the Israeli forces shot directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Baker continued.
Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters towards the hospital, affecting the children’s division, Baker said. It caused suffocation injuries to children and others, he said.
Israel’s army denied deliberately firing tear gas at the hospital. “No one shot tear gas on purpose at a hospital,” an army spokesman said, “but the activity was not far away from the hospital and it is possible some tear gar entered through an open window.”
PM Shtayyeh seeks UN intervention
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh released a statement calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to “intervene urgently to provide protection for Palestinian people and stop the bloodshed of children, youth and women”.
Saleh al-Arouri, a prominent leader of the Hamas movement governing the blockaded Gaza Strip, said the “response of the resistance will not be delayed”.
Journalist Youmna el-Sayed, reporting from Gaza, said Palestinian factions, including Hamas, announced a day of mourning and declared a state of alert.
“They called on the international community to hold the ‘occupation criminals’ accountable for their crimes and finally called out on the people in Gaza to go out in the streets and show their rage against the massacre committed in Jenin,” el-Sayed said.
Justifying the operation, the Israeli military said Special Forces had been sent into Jenin to detain Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of planning and carrying out “multiple major terror attacks”.
Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and besieged the camp in the early hours with undercover forces, dozens of armored vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.
The military added that several Palestinian fighters had been shot after they opened fire. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)