Friday, May 24, 2024

Israeli forces start withdrawal after two-day operation in Jenin

(BBC News) Israeli forces have started withdrawing from Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, a defence source says.

This ends a major two-day operation during which 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard across Jenin camp as the news emerged on Tuesday evening.

The Israeli military said later that it had intercepted five rockets fired towards southern Israel by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

No group immediately claimed that it was behind the launches.

As the Israeli withdrawal from Jenin got under way, Palestinian health officials reported that a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces. It said he was the 12th Palestinian fatality in the city since Monday.

Separately, the Israeli military said a non-commissioned officer in combat service was killed by live fire in the refugee camp on Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day, the militant group Hamas – which governs Gaza – said a car-ramming and stabbing attack in Israel was a response to the Jenin operation.

Israeli authorities said seven people were injured on a busy shopping street in the city of Tel Aviv and that the attacker was a Palestinian man from the West Bank. He was shot dead by a civilian.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Whoever thinks that such an attack will deter us from continuing our fight against terrorism is mistaken.”

He also confirmed that Israeli forces were “completing the mission” in Jenin, but warned that it would not be a “one-time action.”

Palestinian leaders accused Israel of mounting an “invasion.”

The Israeli military launched its operation in Jenin refugee camp early on Monday with a drone strike that it said targeted a joint command centre of the Jenin Brigades – a unit made up of militant groups, including Hamas.

Drones carried out further air strikes as hundreds of troops entered the camp and engaged in intense gun battles with armed Palestinians inside the camp.

The military said the “counter-terrorism operation” was focused on seizing weapons and “breaking the safe haven mindset of the camp.”

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