Three Palestinians were killed by an Israeli drone strike on Tuesday evening in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, while another Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces along the border fence with the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian officials.
The Palestinian health ministry said that about 30 people were wounded by Israeli fire in Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian resistance groups that has witnessed frequent Israeli raids in recent months. The ministry identified the three slain Palestinians as Omar Awadin, 16, Luay al-Zughair, 37, and Nidal Hazem, 28.
The Israeli army said that it had carried out a “necessary” operation “to thwart terrorist activities” in Jenin and that a drone had struck the camp, without providing further details. Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said that the troops had “neutralised” a “terrorist cell” that was hiding in a house in the camp.
Jenin’s deputy governor, Kamal Abu al-Rub, said that the Israeli army had targeted a house used as a hideout by a wanted Palestinian. He condemned the attack as a “crime” and a “violation of international law” and called for international protection for the Palestinian people.
Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp, which are home to about 14,000 Palestinians, are nominally under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), but the PA has lost its grip on the area as a new generation of Palestinian fighters has emerged¹. In July, Israel launched its biggest assault on the camp in years, using bombs and bulldozers to destroy many buildings and killing 13 Palestinians, including children. One Israeli soldier also died during the raid by friendly fire.
One Killed in Gaza
Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, which is under a 14-year blockade by Israel and Egypt, clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces along the separation fence. The Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza said that one Palestinian was killed by Israeli bullets and several others were injured. The ministry identified the victim as Youssef Shreem, 29.
The Israeli army said that hundreds of “rioters” had gathered near the fence and that some of them had thrown explosive devices at the soldiers. The army said that it had responded with riot dispersal means and sniper fire and that several hits had been confirmed.
The violence in Gaza followed an Israeli announcement on Sunday that it would keep the key Erez crossing, which is used for humanitarian and commercial purposes, closed following a “security assessment”. The closure has further exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave, where more than half of the population lives in poverty and unemployment.
The latest escalation of violence comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over various issues, including Israeli settlements, evictions, demolitions, arrests and raids in the occupied territories. Since the beginning of this year, at least 236 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in incidents linked to the conflict. On the Israeli side, 32 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian have also been killed over the same period.