Israeli commandos disguised as medics, patients and other Palestinian civilians raided a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday morning, in footage widely shared online.
The soldiers killed three people inside Jenin’s Ibn Sina Hospital, including a patient, a nurse and a security guard, according to Palestinian sources.
The raid sparked clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, who threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers and set fire to tires and trash bins.
The Israeli army said the raid was a “counter-terrorism operation” aimed at arresting a senior Hamas operative who was being treated at the hospital.
The army said the operative, identified as Jamil al-Amouri, was responsible for planning and carrying out several attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in recent months.
The army said al-Amouri was armed and opened fire at the soldiers, who returned fire and killed him.
The army said it regretted the deaths of the other two people, but blamed Hamas for using the hospital as a “terrorist base”.
The army said it acted in accordance with the rules of engagement and international law, and that it would investigate the incident.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the West Bank, condemned the raid as a “barbaric and cowardly” act that violated the sanctity of the hospital and the rights of the patients and staff.
The PA said the raid was part of a “systematic policy” of Israel to target Palestinian civilians and institutions, and to undermine the PA’s efforts to provide health care and security to its people.
The PA called on the international community to intervene and hold Israel accountable for its “crimes and violations”.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip and has been at war with Israel since 2023, also denounced the raid as a “heinous crime” and a “declaration of war” against the Palestinian people.
Hamas said the raid was a “desperate attempt” by Israel to cover up its “failure and defeat” in the face of the Palestinian resistance.
Hamas vowed to avenge the blood of the martyrs and to continue its struggle until the liberation of Palestine.
The raid was the latest in a series of deadly incidents that have escalated the tension and violence in the West Bank and Gaza, where more than 25,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million have been displaced since the outbreak of the war in October 2023.
The war was triggered by Israel’s attempts to evict Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, and by Hamas’s firing of rockets at Israeli cities.
The war has also sparked a wave of protests and clashes across the West Bank, where Israeli forces have killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and injured more than 10,000, according to the PA.
The UN, the EU, the Arab League, and the Quartet have been calling for an immediate and lasting cease-fire, and for the resumption of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which have been frozen since 2014.
However, the efforts have been hampered by the lack of trust and communication between the parties, and by the political instability and division within both sides.