The Palestinian Health Ministry said Israeli forces raided a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank early Thursday, killing two Palestinians and wounding 15.
In another incident, a Palestinian stabbed a 28-year-old Israeli man on a bus in the West Bank before a bystander killed him, the Israeli military said. Magen David Edom Emergency Service said the stabbed victim was treated and taken to hospital.
Video broadcast online showed smoke rising from the center of the Jenin refugee camp as gunshots echoed in the background. Others showed Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen walking through narrow streets.
The raids came two days after a Palestinian from a village near Jenin shot dead five people in central Israel, part of a wave of attacks in recent days that have killed a total of 11 people.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 17-year-old Sanad Abu Attiyeh and 23-year-old Yazid al-Saadi were killed. It said 30-year-old Nidal Jafra was shot and killed near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, apparently referring to a stabbing incident.
The Israeli military said soldiers opened fire after entering Jenin to arrest the suspects. It said one soldier was injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
The Jenin refugee camp was the scene of one of the deadliest battles of the Second Palestinian Intifada, or insurgency. In April 2002, Israeli forces fought Palestinian militants in the camp for nearly three weeks. According to the United Nations, at least 52 Palestinians, including twenty-three Israeli soldiers and civilians, were killed.
The Palestinian Authority, which manages parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates with Israel on security matters, has had little control over Jenin in recent years. The Israeli military and refugee camps operating in and around the city often come under fire.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist group announced a “general mobilization” of its fighters after Thursday’s raid.
In Tuesday’s attack, a 27-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Yabad, near Jenin, systematically killed the victims, killing five. On Sunday night, two police officers were killed in a gunfight by two Islamic State supporters in the central city of Hadera. Last week, a combined car-ramming and stabbing attack in the southern city of Beersheba – also carried out by an IS-inspired attacker – killed four. Two attacks claimed by IS were carried out by Arab citizens of Israel.
President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday. The White House said Biden offered his condolences after the recent attacks and said the US stood firmly with Israel in the face of this terrorist threat and all threats to the State of Israel.
The recent wave of violence has brought the Palestinian issue back to the fore at a time when Israel is focusing on building alliances with Arab states against Iran. There have been no serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in more than a decade, and Bennett is opposed to the Palestinian state.
Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders have held a flurry of meetings in recent weeks, and Israel has announced a series of goodwill gestures in an effort to maintain peace ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this week. .
They hope to avoid a repeat of last year, when clashes in Jerusalem sparked the 11-day Gaza War, but recent attacks have heightened tensions. After a meeting of the Security Cabinet late on Wednesday, Israel nevertheless decided to pursue a plan to ease sanctions on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, areas that Palestinians want for a future state. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in a move recognized internationally. In the West Bank, it continues to build and expand Jewish settlements, which most of the international community considers illegal.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas seized power there two years later. Since then, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on the region, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians.