Nine dead in Israeli raid; Palestine ends security coordination with Israel in West Bank
The West Bank went through its bloodiest day in years at a refugee camp in Jenin on Jan. 26. Israeli defense forces said they carried out the raid to target a group that is part of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The deaths mark renewed violence in the region.
Nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, were shot and killed in a raid by Israeli Defense Forces in the city of Jenin in the West Bank on Jan. 26, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
It is the largest single-day death toll in years.
Israeli forces said they were carrying out a counterterrorism operation targeting a Palestinian Islamic Jihad squad who were suspected of carrying out major terror attacks.
In addition to the deaths, 20 people were wounded, with four of them in critical condition.
Seven of those killed were Palestinian gunmen, while two were civilian casualties.
"What happened today in Jenin Governorate is a massacre in the very sense of the word. We received eight martyrs and one martyr in Ibn Sina Hospital," said Wissam Bakr, director of Jenin Governmental Hospital to AFP.
"I want to congratulate the police special unit, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet forces who carried out a successful operation tonight, we give backing to our fighters in the war against the terrorists," said Itamar Ben Gvir, Ultranationalist Israeli cabinet minister
Israel said it was looking into the reported deaths.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was not looking to escalate the situation, but also ordered his security forces to prepare for all scenarios.
The clash lasted for three hours, it included gunfire as well as improvised explosions set up by Palestinian militants.
"There were young men who hid and fled into the house and were bombed with weapons and missiles," Umm Youssef Al-Sawalmi, who lives in the camp, told AFP.
The Palestinian Health Ministry also accused the Israeli defense forces of deliberately firing tear gas during the raid inside a pediatric ward at a hospital choking children. The IDF denied the claim and said the gas may have drifted there through a window.
In response to the violence, the Spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Authority is ending security coordination with the Israelis in the occupied West Bank.
The attack was condemned by Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait and Oman.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said that “it rejects the serious violations of international law by the Israeli occupation forces,” according to State News Agency SPA.
The Saudis also called on the international community to stop Israeli aggression.
According to the Israeli military on Friday January 27, two rockets were intercepted by missile defenses from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel. Sirens were triggered in Israeli communities near Gaza. There were no reported injuries. Israel in response struck Gaza overnight.
These events come on the heels of a visit to the Temple Mount by Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s far-right security minister in Netanyahu’s newly formed government, which outraged Palestinians and Muslims who viewed it as a provocative act.
The Temple Mount is a holy site revered by Jews and Muslims, but the current decades-old status quo under Jordanian custodianship allows non-Muslims to visit during certain hours - but not pray there.
The U.S. Department of State announced today that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken would visit the Middle East from Jan. 29-31 to meet regional leaders and discuss the recent tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 30 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF since the beginning of the year. The number includes civilians and gunmen.