Israel speaks of a reaction to an attack on January 28th. Several other people were injured. The Palestinian head of government condemned the mission as a “serious crime” and a “violation of international law”.
The Israeli army killed five in a raid near Jericho in the occupied West Bank on Monday Palestinians killed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the two suspected participants in an anti-Israel attack on January 28 were among those killed. The radical Palestinian organization Hamas condemned the operation as a “disgusting massacre”. The violence between Israelis and Palestinians had escalated in recent weeks.
Since the beginning of the year there have now been 41 Palestinians killed. The Israeli army said several “armed attackers” were killed during the “anti-terrorist operation” in the Akabat Jabr refugee camp near the city of Jericho after they shot at soldiers on duty.
According to Israeli sources, the raid was aimed at “the Hamas terrorist unit that carried out the shooting attack” on January 28, in which, according to the army, two armed men approached a restaurant in an Israeli settlement near Jericho.
Shot fired in restaurant, gun jammed
One of the attackers fired a shot in the restaurant, after which his gun jammed. Nobody got hurt. Since the two men fled, the Israeli army had increased its presence around Jericho and tightly controlled the border crossings.
Netanyahu said Monday the Palestinian attackers were killed by Shin Beth agents and soldiers. The Israeli armed forces “eliminated five of these terrorists”.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described the operation as a “serious crime” and a “blatant violation of international law”. Hamas said it mourned members of its armed wing who were killed in “an armed confrontation with the Zionist occupation.”
Hamas speaks of “martyrdom”
Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh called Monday’s operation a “disgusting massacre” and that the “heroes” there “fought to the point of martyrdom.” Haniyeh threatened retaliation: “The continued killings by the enemy in the West Bank” would be “devastating” for him.
Israel’s Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praised the work of the forces and said on Twitter: “A terrorist is deadly, and anyone who tries to harm the citizens of Israel should know that.”
The Israeli army further declared the bodies of the five killed Palestinians are in their hands. For both sides, the return of the remains of people killed in clashes or attacks plays an important role in negotiations.
Jericho is a popular tourist destination mainly because of its numerous cultural and religious sights. Violent clashes are relatively rare there.
Security situation tightened massively
The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories had deteriorated further after a raid by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank last week that left ten dead. Last Friday had a Palestinians opened fire on visitors to a synagogue and other pedestrians in East Jerusalem. Seven people were killed. The government then announced punitive measures against attackers and their families.
Since the beginning of the year, a total of 41 Palestinians, including civilians and children, killed in confrontations with the army or in their own attacks. Israel’s new far-right government wants to boost settlement expansion in areas affected by the Palestinians claim for a future state, as well as on the occupied Golan Heights, internationally recognized as Syrian territory.