At least four Palestinian men were killed and 44 wounded during an Israeli military raid and heavy clashes in Jenin Wednesday morning, Palestinian officials said, making it one of the deadliest days in the West Bank this year, which has already seen over 100 Palestinians killed.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the raid was related to an attack in Tel Aviv in April which left three people dead, and that the suspects Wednesday fought back with explosives and gunfire.
IDF troops entered Jenin Refugee Camp to “apprehend two suspects involved in a number of recent shooting attacks,” the IDF said in a statement.
“While surrounding the residence in which both suspects were located, an explosive device detonated and the suspects opened fire toward the security forces. The security forces fired back according to standard operating procedures and the two suspects were both killed,” the IDF said.
One of those killed was identified by both Palestinian and Israeli officials as Abdel Al Rahman Khazam, brother of Raed Khazem, who carried out the shooting attack on a central Tel Aviv bar. Raed Khazem was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli security forces in Jaffa the morning after the attack in April.
The other three men killed on Wednesday were identified by Palestinian health officials as Mohammad Alouna, Ahmad Nazmi Alawneh and Muhammad Abu Na’aseh.
According to the state-sponsored Palestinian news agency WAFA, “a large army force raided Jenin and its refugee camp this morning, firing in all directions and shooting tear gas canisters while surrounding and shelling a house that belongs for Fathi Hazem, father of Raed and Abed.”
Videos from Jenin show several Israeli armored military vehicles driving through Jenin as well as fire and large plumes of smoke emanating from a house. A security video appears to show a group of armed Palestinians firing toward a street. One is then shot in the head and falls to the ground. Local journalists have identified that man as Alawneh.
The clashes were ongoing as of the middle of the day on Wednesday.
The Palestinian Authority’s presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement “the Israeli occupation continues to play with the lives of our Palestinian people, and is tampering with security and stability by continuing its policy of escalation.”
“Israel is still a state above international law, and that Israel and the United States of America have lost their credibility by demanding calm and the preservation of stability, and on the ground practice all forms of escalation, killing and destruction against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy sites,” Abu Rudeineh added.
This is already the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2015, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. More than 35 of those killed have been in Jenin. Israel says most killed were engaging violently with soldiers during military operations, but dozens of unarmed civilians have been killed as well, human rights groups including B’Tselem have said.
For months, Israel has been regularly raiding cities in the West Bank, focusing especially on Jenin and Nablus, saying it is targeting militants and their weapon caches before they have the chance to cross into Israel and carry out attacks. The operation, dubbed “Breaking the Wave” by the IDF, was launched after a series of attacks on Israelis. At least 20 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in attacks targeting civilians and soldiers in Israel and the West Bank so far this year.