Several targeted airstrikes hit a weapons depot, a “terrorist meeting place” and a command and communications center used by militant Palestinians as an observation post, the Israeli armed forces said.
The military operation, which according to Israeli statements was aimed at “terrorist infrastructure” in the West Bank, was still ongoing on Monday morning. Israeli media speak of a large-scale offensive called “Home and Garden”.
According to Palestinian sources, Israeli soldiers are said to have engaged in skirmishes with Palestinians in Jenin. Israel’s army moved into the city after the airstrikes with ground troops and around 100 military vehicles. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least seven people were killed and dozens more injured.
Jenin – has been the focus of the Israeli army for months
In the region around Jenin and the associated refugee camp with around 17,000 inhabitants, there are repeated confrontations with the Israeli military. In recent months, Israeli forces have repeatedly carried out raids in Jenin.
Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant said the army would “continue to act proactively and decisively” in Jenin. Israel’s defense apparatus is prepared for any scenario.
According to international army spokesman Richard Hecht, Israeli forces are concentrating on the refugee camp in Jenin. “At least seven terrorists were neutralized” there during the night. It was unclear whether the targets were killed.
The security situation in Israel and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has been tense for a long time and has recently worsened again. The Israeli government, among others, has recently called for a large-scale military offensive.
After a deadly attack by two Palestinians on four Israelis in the West Bank almost two weeks ago, massive violence broke out again and again between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
The spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned the Israeli operation and spoke of a “new war crime”. He called on the international community to “break its shameful silence and take serious action.”
The militant Islamist Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip and is classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union, called for the mobilization of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Hamas pledged support to its fighters in Jenin.
Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War. The region is now home to more than 600,000 Israeli settlers and an estimated three million Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Israel’s settlement policy is very controversial. The settlements there are classified by the United Nations as contrary to international law. The Palestinians claim the areas for a future independent state of Palestine with the Arabic-influenced eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital.
qu/AR/apo (dpa, rtr, afp)