Israeli forces have shot and killed at least nine Palestinians during a violent raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. An elderly woman has been reported among the dead, according to reports.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 20 others were injured with live ammunition in the raid on Jenin refugee camp, which Palestinians have described as a “massacre”. Four are in critical conditions.
Health officials stated the situation on the ground is very difficult, with injuries continuing to pour into hospitals, and Israeli forces obstructing the work of ambulances and medics.
Israeli forces have now withdrawn from Jenin.
“There is an invasion that is unprecedented in the past period, in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries,” Wissam Baker, head of Jenin public hospital, told Al Jazeera.
“The ambulance driver tried to get to one of the martyrs who was on the floor, but the Israeli forces shot directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Baker continued.
Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters towards the hospital which seeped into the children’s division, Baker noted, causing suffocation injuries including among children.
The Israeli military announced that special forces had been sent into Jenin to detain Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of carrying out and planning “multiple major terror attacks”.
The military added that several Palestinian fighters had been shot after they had opened fire.
Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and besieged the camp in the early hours with undercover forces, dozens of armoured vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.
Jenin is among areas of the northern West Bank where Israel has intensified raids over the past year, in an attempt to crack down on growing armed Palestinian resistance.
Aleef Sabbagh, a political analyst specialising in Israeli affairs, said Thursday’s operation in Jenin “should be understood as a signal – it is the first shot in a coming, larger Israeli operation.”
“The lack of a response – neither Arab nor international – over what Israel is doing, is encouraging it to continue with its raids and killings,” Sabbagh told Al Jazeera.
“The targeting of ambulances and hospitals, preventing aid to wounded people, the field executions – even the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh – there has been no accountability. If there is no real, strong response, Israel will continue to do what it wants without punishment,” Sabbagh added.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran correspondent covering the occupied Palestinian territories for more than 25 years, was shot and killed in May while she was covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp. No one has yet been held accountable for her killing.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January has risen to at least 29 people, including five children. At least 15 of those killed were from Jenin.
More than 170 Palestinians were killed in such raids in 2022, many of them civilians.