3 Palestinians killed in Israel drone raid on West Bank

An Israeli drone strike hit a vehicle in the northern West Bank and killed three people in a new escalation of attacks on the occupied Palestinian territory.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported three people were killed late Wednesday in the attack. The air raid occurred in the Jenin refugee camp and set the car on fire, according to video circulated on social media.

In a statement, Israel’s military said it “identified a terrorist cell inside a suspicious vehicle after the cell carried out a shooting adjacent to the town of Jalamah”.

Jalamah, at the northern end of the occupied West Bank, is just a few kilometres from Jenin where an Israeli raid killed seven Palestinians on Monday.

It claimed the targets had been responsible for a number of shooting attacks on Jewish settlements. The identities of the occupants in the car were not immediately known.

“Following the identification of the terrorist cell, an [Israel military] UAV fired toward the cell and thwarted them,” it added.

The rare drone raid in the occupied West Bank marked an escalation in Israel’s continuing campaign against Palestinians in the area.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said what he called the “assassination crime” would not go unpunished.

“The use of planes by the Zionist army to assassinate our people is a grave escalation,” Qassem added.

A statement from the Jenin Brigades, which includes fighters from different Palestinian factions, said two of the men killed belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed group and one was from Fatah.

Islamic Jihad announced Israel must now await “punishment” after its “foolish act to target three of our fighters by drones and detaining their bodies”.

The long string of violent incidents in the region over the past year and a half has shown no sign of relenting.

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