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Israel kills Hamas militants in Jenin raid as violence rises in West Bank | Israel-Hamas War

Nature

Israeli security forces staged a major raid in the city of Jenin, destroying roads and killing between three and five Hamas militants in the latest instance of violence in the occupied West Bank.

Hamas said three of its fighters died during the nighttime raid, which began Thursday evening and lasted about eight hours. Israeli military officials said their forces killed at least five people.

The raid highlighted high tensions in the West Bank since attacks by Hamas in southern Israel last month, which triggered a massive Israeli military offensive on Gaza.

The rising death toll in the West Bank has underscored fears that territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war could spiral out of control amid the conflict in Gaza.

Hamas’ al-Quds Brigades in Jenin said in a statement Friday that they fought Israeli forces for several hours, unleashing a “torrent of fire” and setting up ambushes with explosives.

An Israeli military spokesperson said that an “armed terrorist cell that fired on Israeli security forces” was struck by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) plane.

“Other terrorists who fired and threw explosive devices at security forces were neutralized,” the spokesperson said.

The Israeli military said some Hamas militants fled in vehicles and ambulances to Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, and that troops stopped one of the vehicles at the hospital entrance. He played video footage of soldiers searching a car at the hospital and finding M-16 rifles and ammunition.

Palestinian health officials said some hospital workers were ordered to leave the hospital, with verified video showing them leaving the building with their hands raised. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society accused the IDF of stopping and searching the ambulance crews.

Last week, Israeli forces attacked Jenin and fought for hours with gunmen in a battle in which 14 people were killed, one of the most violent clashes in the occupied West Bank in months.

At least 191 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, and up to 2,000 have been arrested in a strict crackdown. Israeli officials say the arrests foiled several major attacks.

Chart of the number of Palestinian deaths linked to the conflict or occupation in the West Bank from 2008 to present

Hamas attacks last month killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and more than 240 people were taken hostage. Palestinian civilians have borne the brunt of Israel’s weeks-long military campaign in Gaza.

Gaza health authorities say at least 11,500 people have been killed in an Israeli bombing and ground invasion – including more than 4,700 children.

A senior Israeli army officer told the Guardian last week that the West Bank constitutes a “broad front” on which the Israeli army already deploys significant forces against Hamas and would not hesitate to intensify its efforts if necessary.

Israeli security forces also shot and killed an attacker near Hebron after he opened fire on soldiers Friday morning. On Thursday, an Israeli soldier was killed at a checkpoint on Route 60 in the West Bank.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister, said Israel must deal with Hamas in the West Bank “exactly like we deal with Gaza.”

Ben-Gvir, the leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, also said that the Palestinian Authority “has similar views to Hamas and that its leaders identify with the Hamas massacre” and that it should be treated in the same way.

Nature

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