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Lethal Israeli raid marks deadliest day in over a year


By Abeer Salman, Celine Alkhaldi, Hadas Gold and Michael Schwartz, CNN

Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians and wounded several others in the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said, prompting the Palestinian Authority to suspend its security coordination with Israel.

Hours after the Jenin raid, a tenth Palestinian was killed in what Israel Police called a “violent disturbance” near Jerusalem.

The death toll makes Thursday the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in over a year, according to CNN records. It brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year to 30, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health figures. That toll includes militants being targeted in Israeli raids, individuals who attacked Israelis, and bystanders, CNN reporting shows.

Nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, were killed during an Israeli raid of the Jenin refugee camp, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

Israeli security forces said they were operating in Jenin Thursday to apprehend a “terror squad belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization,” saying in a statement that it killed three “terrorists.”

“The Islamic Jihad terror operatives were heavily involved in executing and planning multiple major terror attacks, including shooting attacks on IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians,” the joint statement from the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Security Agency and Border Police said.

The statement said two armed suspects were “neutralized” while fleeing and that a third was neutralized at the scene. Another suspect surrendered, they said.

Israeli forces reported no injuries on their side, but said they were aware of “claims regarding additional casualties during the exchange of fire” and were investigating.

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) said Israeli forces initially prevented medics from entering Jenin camp, making it difficult to reach injured individuals, four of whom were in critical condition.

The PRC said Israeli forces also fired tear gas canisters towards the Jenin Government Hospital, causing inhalation injuries among children.

Later on Thursday, a 22-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli troops in Al-Ram near Jerusalem, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said, making him the tenth Palestinian killed that day.

Israel Border Police said they were responding to a “violent disturbance” in the city and that “a terrorist who shot fireworks from a short range at our forces “was neutralized.” The force said in a statement that one of its officers had also fired at and hit a second person who allegedly shot fireworks at them.

On Friday Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Twitter he had informed his security teams to “prepare for action with a variety of offensive measures and high-quality targets, in case it is necessary to continue to act — until peace is restored to the citizens of Israel.”

The militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) on Friday has taken responsibility for firing rockets towards Israel overnight Thursday, the leader of the group in Gaza, Sheikh Khaled Al-Batsh, told crowds.

Al-Batsh said Friday that the PIJ’s armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades, fired rockets in response to the deadly raids in Jenin by the Israeli Defense Forces, while Hamas’ armed wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, “fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli planes that raided sites in the Strip.”

“The plot today aims to allow the enemy to swallow the West Bank, build settlements and annex lands, to gradually impose its alleged policy, as happened in the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and all areas that are subject to settlement,” Al-Batsh said in Gaza.

The group also said “the way to restore rights and dignity and expel the occupation is through fighting only.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh has called on the United Nations and international human rights organizations to “intervene urgently to provide protection … and stop the bloodshed of children, youth and women.”

The Palestinian Authority also announced it will cease security coordination with Israel starting immediately, its Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Abu Rudineh told a news conference in Ramallah in the wake of the raid.

“In light of the repeated aggression against our people and the flouting of the signed agreements, including security ones, we consider that security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now,” Abu Rudineh said.

The Islamic Jihad welcomed the Palestinian’s Authority’s decision to cancel the security coordination with Israel, and urged Arab countries to stop the normalization of relations with Israel.

Coordination between Israel and the Palestinians involves a range of civilian and security matters, including sharing of some intelligence for security operations targeting militant groups — seen as key to preventing terror attacks.

But Palestinian Authority leadership has come under pressure to cut the coordination, especially over the past year which has seen some of the highest levels of violence and death for both Palestinians and Israelis in years.

The Palestinian Authority previously suspended security coordination for several months in 2020, after Israel announced plans to annex parts of the West Bank as part of former President Donald Trump’s peace plan. The annexation did not proceed and security coordination resumed.

Last year was the deadliest for both Palestinians in the West Bank and for Israelis in nearly two decades, CNN analysis of official statistics on both sides showed.

Israel’s top military officer told CNN “fighting terrorism is a complex mission,” in the wake of Thursday’s fatal Israeli raid. Herzi Halevi, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, was speaking to CNN’s Hadas Gold shortly after the raid, and before he had been fully briefed on it.

An IDF spokesperson later told CNN the military was responding to intelligence about an imminent attack.

“We went into Jenin in daylight,” the spokesperson said, underlining that the decision to operate in daylight rather than overnight, as the IDF usually does, shows how “urgent” the mission was.

When the forces arrived at the targeted building they “came under heavy fire and returned fire.”

The suspects were barricaded in a house when the IDF arrived, “so in addition the forces used an anti-tank shoulder-fired missile.”

“We are aware of reports a woman in her 60s, to our sorrow, was killed during the operation. We do not yet know on whom to assign responsibility, who fired and where she was,” the spokesperson added.

Israel is increasing its defensive posture against Palestinian militant attacks in the wake of the raid, the Ministry of Defense said.

The Israeli Defense Forces told CNN on Friday that Gaza militants fired seven rockets towards Israel overnight Thursday that entered Israeli air space.

Four were intercepted and three exploded in an open area, the IDF said, adding that several more had been launched but exploded inside the Gaza Strip.

Israel said earlier that in response to the rockets from Gaza, it launched air strikes targeting an “underground rocket manufacturing site belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip.”

“This strike will significantly impede Hamas’ intensification and armament efforts,” it said in a statement posted on the force’s official Telegram channel.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Mia Alberti, Mohammed Najib and Ibrahim Dahman contributed reporting.

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