| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Israeli troops and drones hit Jenin in major West Bank operation

During one of the largest West Bank incursions in two decades, Israeli forces conducted drone strikes on the city of Jenin on Monday. The operation involved hundreds of troops, resulting in gun battles that continued into the afternoon and claimed the lives of at least eight individuals.
With drones clearly audible overhead and the sounds of gunfire and explosives heard across the city hours after the strikes, the Jenin Brigades, a unit made up of militant groups based in the city’s crowded refugee camp, said it was engaging Israeli forces and had shot down one of the unmanned aircraft.
Operation of this scale have rarely been seen in the city since the end of the second Intifada uprising two decades ago.

At times during the morning, at least six drones could be seen circling over the city and the adjoining camp, a densely packed area housing around 14,000 refugees in less than half a square kilometre.

The camp has been at the heart of an escalation of violence across the West Bank that has triggered mounting alarm from Washington to the Arab world, without so far opening the way to a resumption of political negotiations that have been stalled for almost a decade.

For more than a year, army raids in cities such as Jenin have become routine, while there have been a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and rampages by Jewish settler mobs against Palestinian villages.
“What is going on in the refugee camp is real war,” said Palestinian ambulance driver Khaled Alahmad, describing Monday’s fighting. “There were strikes from the sky targeting the camp, every time we drive in, around five to seven ambulances and we come back full with injured people.”

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed at least eight people had been killed and more than 50 wounded in Jenin, while another man was killed in the city of Ramallah overnight after being shot in the head at a checkpoint.

The Israeli military said its forces struck a building that served as a command centre for fighters from the Jenin Brigades in what it described as an extensive counterterrorism effort aimed at destroying infrastructure and disrupting militants from using the refugee camp as a base.

Footage showed Israeli armoured bulldozers ploughing up roads in the camp, which was largely destroyed by Israeli troops during a previous incursion two decades ago, while gunfire continued and aircraft hit at least one other target in the afternoon.

  • Reuters