(Photo credit: AFP)
At least five Palestinian resistance fighters were killed by Israeli troops at dawn on 6 February during a military raid on the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jericho, medical sources told WAFA news agency.
Other news outlets, including Press TV and Al-Mayadeen, have reported that seven Palestinians were killed in the raid.
Early this morning, a large Israeli military force stormed the refugee camp, instigating clashes between resistance fighters and the troops. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), several injured were treated for gunshot wounds and suffocation cases. Israeli soldiers attacked paramedics and ambulances and attempted to prevent them from entering the camp.
They also stormed and ransacked many homes across the camp, detaining several Palestinians in the process. No Israeli soldiers were injured in the clashes.
The night before, Israeli forces ‘rounded up’ two Palestinian brothers near a coffee shop at the camp’s entrance. Over the past several days, Israel has tightened security measures around Jericho, essentially imposing a siege due to a failed shooting at an Israeli restaurant on 28 January. The suspect behind the failed operation was the target of this latest raid on Jericho. On 4 February, over a dozen were injured in an Israeli raid on the same camp.
After the bodies of the Palestinians killed in the raid could not be found, it was revealed that the troops had seized them. This was confirmed by the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) and the Governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, Jihad Abu al-Assal.
Israel has accused the Hamas movement of the failed 28 January shooting and has detained several from Jericho over the past few days. According to Palestinian media reports, ‘Senior Hamas official’ Shaker Amara was arrested in the city on the morning of the raid, including several others.
The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a statement that the “heroes in Aqabat Jaber fought until they were martyred in defense of their land and sanctities.”
“The resistance will remain the master of the battlefield despite the heinous massacres, and the Al-Qassam Brigades will continue its operations with all the revolutionary people until the occupation is defeated [and expelled] from our land … [The occupation] will not enjoy calm as long as our people have a pulse,” Haniyeh added.
This comes as tension levels in the occupied West Bank are reaching unprecedented highs due to Israel’s massacre of ten Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp at the end of last month and the subsequent retaliatory operation in east Jerusalem, which left ten Israelis dead.
In the aftermath of this escalation, Israel has continued its violent raids on the West Bank. As a result, the resistance has vowed to continue its operations and has expressed its readiness for all out war.