A devastating military operation launched by Israel on Monday (July 3) has forced an exodus of Palestinians from a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Israel’s deployment of hundreds of troops and a wave of drone strikes in the Palestinian city of Jenin has seen at least 10 killings and several wounded.
According to sources, a number of West Bank localities have called a nationwide strike for Tuesday in support of the Palestinians living in the Jenin camp, which had held some 14,000 people.
Israel’s tactics in the operation, which is the most intense in the West Bank in over two decades, resemble those used during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.
This operation’s timing reflects growing internal pressure in Israel for a resolute reaction to previous attacks on Israeli settlers, notably a shooting incident last month that left four Israelis dead.
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Armed drone airstrikes started around 1.14am on Monday and were directed at a specific area in the centre of the Jenin refugee camp, which was close to UN-funded schools.
The target, according to Israel, was a joint operations centre “used as an advanced observation and reconnaissance centre, a place where armed terrorists would gather before and after terrorist activities, a site for armament of weapons and explosives, and as a hub for co-ordination and communication among the terrorists”.
Israel was nearing the end of its military operation in Jenin, according to a senior assistant to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Four people were killed, according to the Islamic Jihad faction, who claimed they were their fighters. Hamas, another Islamist group, reported one casualty.
It is still unknown at this moment if the remaining five victims, who ranged in age from 17 to 23, were civilians or militants.
The Jenin camp, along with a neighbouring town bearing the same name, has been a contentious area ever since the escalation of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the spring of 2022.
It served as a focal point for Palestinian military activities during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.
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As of Tuesday (July 4), Israeli troops, numbering in the hundreds, continued their operations within the camp.
Their activities included the confiscation of weapons and explosives, as well as the destruction of tunnels and command posts, according to statements from the army.
Israeli media outlets reported that at least 120 individuals suspected of being Palestinian militants had been arrested by the army since the onset of the operation on Monday.
The Palestinian self-rule government in the West Bank, along with three Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel—Jordan, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates—expressed condemnation of Israel’s incursion.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, consisting of 57 member nations, also joined in condemning the Israeli action.
Israel claims that the raids are aimed at suppressing Palestinian militants and preventing attacks.
However, the Palestinians argue that in the absence of any political progress with Israel and due to the escalation of West Bank settlement construction and violence perpetrated by extremist settlers, such acts of violence are bound to occur.
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