Tense but calm after deadly attack in Jenin sparks exchange of rockets between Israel and Gaza | Palestinian territories

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories he remained tense but calm after an exchange of rocket fire between the Gaza Strip and Israel sparked by a deadly raid in the West Bank.

He Israel The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) entered the Jenin refugee camp in the north of the occupied territory around 7 a.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Thursday, acting on intelligence that suggested a cell linked to Islamic Jihad Palestine planned to carry out imminent attacks, the army said in a statement.

Two civilians and seven men claimed by Palestinian militant groups died in the fierce shooting which followed. Several of the camp’s residents said the violence was the worst they had witnessed since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in the 2000s. The death toll from the raid is the highest in a single Israeli operation recorded by the United Nations since records began in 2005.

Thursday’s events in Jenin prompted the Palestinian Authority, which has limited governing powers in the West Bank, to announce it was suspending security cooperation with Israel and sparked clashes elsewhere: Two more Palestinians were shot dead by soldiers in protests turned violent. at checkpoints near Ramallah and in East Jerusalem.

Overnight on Friday, six rockets were fired from the Islamist-controlled Gaza Strip into southern Israel, four of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. The IDF responded by carrying out shelling attacks on what it said were two military sites in central Gaza. Both the Gazan and Israeli fire appeared to be limited in range and no injuries were reported on either side.

genin map of gaza israel

The leader of Islamic Jihad, a smaller and more belligerent group than the Strip’s rulers, Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack from Gaza during a demonstration in Gaza City on Friday that drew thousands of people.

Efforts by international mediators to defuse tensions appear to have been successful, with no immediate signs of an escalation in the war of the kind seen between Israel and the Gaza Strip several times since Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007.

The holy al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, often a staging ground for violence, remained calm during Friday prayers, which were accompanied by a heavy Israeli police presence.

However, concerns that the intractable conflict could spiral out of control again have not allayed. Thursday’s events come against the backdrop of a nine-month Israeli military campaign against Palestinian factions in Jenin and nearby Nablus, launched in response to a deadly wave of Palestinian terror attacks last spring.

In 2022, around 250 Palestinians in the West Bank and 30 Israelis were killed, making last year the bloodiest since 2004. A surprise three-day Israeli bombing campaign against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in August killed another 49 people, according to Gaza health. ministry. So far this month, 31 Palestinians have been killed.

newly released survey suggests that support for the dormant peace process has reached an all-time low on both sides, and it is widely feared that the recent election of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history will further stoke tensions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive next week for talks in Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. In a statement issued Thursday, the State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about the violence and urged both sides to de-escalate.

The UN, Egypt and Qatar have also called for calm, Palestinian officials said, while the UN security council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the deteriorating security situation.

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