Largest assault in years targets Jenin, has left a trail of destruction and casualties
At least 12 Palestinians have lost their lives in the recent Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank, which specifically focused on the city of Jenin. This large-scale offensive, involving drones, Apache attack helicopters, and ground forces, including army bulldozers, has been described as one of the most severe attacks on Jenin in the past two decades.
Despite visible columns of smoke and the presence of drones over the Jenin refugee camp, the intensity of the fighting seemed somewhat reduced compared to Monday. However, shelling and clashes persisted, with Israeli warplanes spotted in the area and explosions heard in the al-Damej neighborhood.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that around 3,000 civilians fled their homes in Jenin refugee camp, seeking refuge in schools and other shelters across the city. Israeli forces were seen launching teargas canisters from above, causing residents to evacuate in a state of panic.
Israeli sources suggested a withdrawal was commencing on Tuesday, although sporadic clashes with Israeli forces were still reported by Palestinian media outlets. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the operation was not a one-time event and stated that Israel would continue military operations in Jenin for as long as necessary.
Disturbingly, hospitals, medical staff, and ambulance units were also targeted during the raid. Palestinian health minister May al-Kaila confirmed that Israeli forces raided the Jenin Public Hospital and the Ibn Sina Hospital, firing shots and leaving several people wounded. The Israeli military’s repeated obstruction and prevention of Palestinian ambulance crews from reaching the injured has further exacerbated the situation.
The offensive in Jenin prompted a general strike, with Palestinian businesses closing in protest against the deadly assault. Residents witnessed extensive damage to civilian buildings, including the destruction of the Freedom Theatre, a renowned cultural center in the city.
The attack on Jenin has drawn condemnation from the Arab and Muslim-majority world, with Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates criticizing Israel’s actions. Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Palestine, expressed alarm at the scale of the Israeli forces’ operation in Jenin.
This recent military operation in Jenin is part of a disturbing trend, with Israel intensifying deadly raids on the city over the past two years. The occupation has resulted in over 100 Palestinian deaths in Jenin since 2022. The latest raid, just two weeks ago, faced fierce resistance from Palestinians and witnessed the first aerial attack in the occupied West Bank in nearly two decades.
The Jenin camp, home to approximately 13,000 refugees, has endured significant suffering in the past. In 2002, an Israeli military campaign caused the loss of many lives, the destruction of hundreds of civilian homes, and the displacement of thousands of people, leaving a lasting impact on the city.