Israeli troops raided a flashpoint city in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday and murdered 10 Palestinians, including at least three militants and three civilians, and injured over 100 others, according to witnesses and medical officials.
The Israeli military confirmed the operation in Nablus and claimed that while trying to apprehend extremists believed to be plotting future strikes, troops came under fire and retaliated. According to a statement from the IDF, there were no Israeli injuries.
Palestinian militant faction Islamic Jihad said two of its Nablus commanders had been encircled in a house by Israeli troops, triggering a clash that drew in other gunmen. Explosions sounded and local youths pelted armoured troop transports with rocks.
Palestinian sources said the two Islamic Jihad commanders were killed along with another gunman. The fatalities also included at least three civilians, among them a 72-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. Medical officials said 102 Palestinians were wounded, six of them critically.
In a briefing with reporters, a senior Israeli military official said the raid lasted around four hours, with troops coming under heavy fire from rooftops and armoured gunmen on motorcycles.
Nablus and nearby Jenin have been a focus of raids that Israel has intensified over the last year following a spate of lethal Palestinian street attacks in its cities.
Sixty-one Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed in 2023, the Palestinian health ministry said. Ten Israelis and a Ukrainian tourist died in Palestinian attacks in the same period, according to Israel’s foreign ministry.
“We condemn the occupation’s raid into Nablus and we call for an end to the continued attacks against our people,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas, another Palestinian militant group that sometimes fights alongside Islamic Jihad, said there were four gunmen, one from its own ranks, and hinted at possible reprisals from the Gaza Strip, a territory that it controls.
“The resistance in Gaza is monitoring the escalating crimes conducted by the enemy against our people in the occupied West Bank and is running out of patience,” Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Hamas armed wing, said on Telegram.
In a statement Saudi Arabia condemned the raid. The foreign ministry of Egypt, which often acts as a broker between Israel and Hamas, in a statement “expressed extreme concern” over the escalation and its potential to “undermine the efforts to achieve calm between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are sworn to Israel’s destruction but have in the past observed Egyptian-mediated truces with it.
U.S.-sponsored Palestinian statehood talks have been stalled for almost a decade.