Palestinians in occupied West Bank say Israel bombing “innocent people” in raid on Jenin refugee camp


Israel carried out drone strikes and deployed hundreds of troops Monday in the city of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, in what one Israeli official called the largest operation in the area in almost two decades. At least nine Palestinians were killed in the raid and 50 were injured, according to Palestinian health officials, as gun battles were reported in the streets of a sprawling refugee camp in Jenin.

A spokesman for the Israeli Army, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, said the goal of the operation was to confiscate or destroy weapons belonging to Palestinian militants. The Associated Press quoted Hecht as saying the raid began at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning with an airstrike on a building in the Jenin refugee camp that he said was being used by militants to plan attacks.

Hecht said the raid continued with more strikes to clear the way for approximately 2,000 Israeli ground forces. He said that, though Israel had carried out strikes in Jenin in recent weeks, this was the largest escalation since 2006.

The sound of gunfire and the buzzing of drones could be heard on the streets of the camp, and black smoke rose into the air above it. The Palestinian news agency Wafa said Israeli forces bulldozed roads and a memorial for the refugee camp’s dead. It said a child was injured by shrapnel.

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