At least five Palestinians killed and dozens injured as major Israeli offensive targets city of Jenin in the West Bank.
In a significant escalation of violence, Israel has launched a major aerial and ground offensive into the West Bank city of Jenin. This operation marks the largest military incursion in the Palestinian territory in years, as Israel intensifies its efforts in what it describes as an “extensive counter-terrorism effort.” The attack, which began in the early hours of Monday, has already resulted in the death of at least five Palestinians, with dozens more injured. The death toll is expected to rise, according to the Palestinian health ministry. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the situation, detailing the events leading up to the offensive, the current situation on the ground, and the potential implications of this significant military operation.
The city of Jenin, located in the northern West Bank, has a long history of being a hotbed of armed resistance from the Palestinian perspective and terrorism from the Israeli perspective. The Jenin refugee camp, established in the 1950s, has become a stronghold for militant groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah. The semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority has limited presence in the camp, and armed fighters from various factions operate within its boundaries.
The current escalation of violence in Jenin is part of a broader surge in clashes and attacks between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. The past year has witnessed a sharp increase in violence, resulting in one of the bloodiest periods in the region in nearly two decades. This latest offensive comes in response to a series of attacks on Israeli settlers, including a shooting incident that claimed the lives of four people just last week.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet, launched the offensive with a targeted attack on a command center within the Jenin refugee camp. According to the IDF, the command center was being used by a local militant group. The operation involved at least 10 drone strikes on buildings and the deployment of a brigade of Israeli troops, estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 soldiers. These troops, accompanied by armored bulldozers and snipers positioned on rooftops, entered the city and its refugee camp.
As news of the offensive spread, armed and masked Palestinian fighters took to the streets of Jenin, engaging in gun battles with Israeli forces. Explosions and gunfire echoed throughout the city, creating a tense and volatile atmosphere. The Palestinian president’s spokesperson, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the operation as “a new war crime against our defenseless people.” The United Nations expressed alarm at the scale of the Israeli forces’ operation and called for access to all injured individuals to be ensured.
The densely populated Jenin refugee camp has been heavily impacted by the offensive. Reports from the ground indicate that airstrikes were used within the camp, resulting in casualties and critically wounded individuals. The UN’s resident humanitarian coordinator, Lynn Hastings, voiced concern about the situation, emphasizing the need for humanitarian assistance. The Palestinian Red Crescent in Jenin reported bombings of houses and sites, with smoke rising from various locations.
Escalation of Violence
The incursion into Jenin marks the first major offensive in the city since the 2002 Battle of Jenin, which took place during the second intifada. That battle resulted in the deaths of over 50 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers. The current events in Jenin, combined with the broader violence in the West Bank, have led to a significant loss of life. The death toll of Palestinians killed this year in the West Bank now stands at 133. The situation has reached a critical point, with tensions running high on both sides.