At least nine Palestinians were killed and more than 80 wounded by bullets during an Israeli military raid in Nablus, a city in the north of the occupied West Bank, the scene of recurrent and deadly clashes.
The Israeli army had indicated in the morning to carry out an operation in Nablus, without giving more details. The soldiers remained in this autonomous Palestinian area for about three hours.
Nine men, aged 23 to 72, were killed in the incursion, the Palestinian health ministry said. Islamic Jihad said one of the local commanders of its military wing was among the dead.
About 80 people have been hospitalized with gunshot wounds at different facilities in the major Palestinian city, some of whom are in serious condition, the ministry said in a statement.
An AFP journalist saw Israeli soldiers fire tear gas canisters at young Palestinians in central Nablus, who threw stones at military vehicles and burned tires.
Israeli forces have been stepping up for nearly a year what they present as “anti-terrorist” operations in search of “suspects” in the northern West Bank, particularly in the cities of Nablus and Jenin, strongholds of Palestinian armed groups.
The last major Israeli operation in Nablus dates from October 2022. Five Palestinians were killed there during a raid targeting the armed group Areen al-Oussoud (“The Den of the Lions”) based in the city.
In a message posted on Telegram, the movement said it took part in clashes with Israeli forces and waged “a battle of honor”. The funerals of the nine Palestinians are due to take place in the afternoon.
‘Prevent further violence’
These latest clashes come against a backdrop of renewed violence since the beginning of the year in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel.
At the end of January, 10 Palestinians, including combatants and a civilian in her 60s, were killed during an incursion into the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin, the bloodiest in years. Exchanges of fire between armed groups in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army and a deadly attack in East Jerusalem followed this operation.
“Preventing further violence is an urgent priority,” Tor Wennesland, UN mediator for the Middle East, said on Monday. Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 58 Palestinians (including members of armed groups and civilians, including minors), nine Israeli civilians (including three minors) and one Ukrainian woman.
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