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Israeli official says five Palestinian gunmen were killed in the raid

origin 1Palestinians protest against one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ©Adel Hana/Copyright 2023 AP

Israeli forces killed five Palestinian gunmen in a raid on a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, Israeli security officials said, in response to a failed attack on Israelis that was likely to further exacerbate tensions in the region.

The Palestinian Health Ministry did not immediately confirm the deaths, saying only that three were injured, one of them seriously.

The violence comes in one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the first weeks of the new Israeli government, more right-wing than ever, which has vowed to take a tough stand against the Palestinians.

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The Israeli military said it was operating in Aqabat Jabr refugee camp to arrest suspects behind a failed gun attack last month at a West Bank restaurant where the attackers were allegedly hampered by a malfunctioning gun. The attackers then fled, the military said, adding they were members of the militant group Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip and also has elements in the West Bank.

Israeli security officials said two of the five killed were Hamas militants involved in the attempted attack. The other three were gunmen who had exchanged fire with troops during the raid. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid with the media.

Hamas said it mourned the deaths of members of its armed wing, without specifying how many died. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the violence would be met.

Our people and their resistance will not be slow to respond to this crime

The raid comes days after an earlier raid on the Aqabat Jabr camp, which is located near the Palestinian city of Jericho, a desert oasis in an area of ​​the West Bank that rarely sees such unrest, where troops were also looking for suspects. .

Since the shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several streets in Jericho – a closure that has placed the city under a semi-lockdown, disrupting business and creating hour-long bottlenecks at checkpoints that have also affected the Palestinian security forces, the shooting showed .

days of violence

Monday’s violence comes days after an Israeli military raid on Jenin refugee camp killed 10 Palestinians, mostly militants but also a 61-year-old woman. The next day, a Palestinian gun attack outside an East Jerusalem synagogue killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.

The Israeli military has stepped up near-night raids in the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel last spring. In the past year of intensifying raids, Jericho has remained a kind of sleepy desert town, spared much of the violence.

The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for last week’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp, has declared a halt to security coordination with Israel.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem last year, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to data from Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Since the beginning of this year, 41 Palestinians have been killed in those territories. About 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022.

The Israeli military says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the raids and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.

To find out more, watch the RockedBuzz via Euronews report in the video above.