Israeli army besieges homes in West Bank raid
The Israeli army has raided a refugee camp near the Palestinian city of Jericho, besieging houses it said were being used as hideouts for Palestinian attackers and shooting at residents who opened fire.
The fighting wounded six Palestinians, two seriously, said the Palestinian Health Ministry, and jolted a generally quiet oasis town that has seen less violence than other West Bank cities.
The army said it entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp southwest of Jericho in the occupied West Bank to search for suspects involved in a shooting attack last week at a nearby Israeli settlement.
Last Saturday, with the West Bank on edge after the deadliest Israeli military raid in two decades and two subsequent Palestinian attacks in east Jerusalem that killed seven people, the army said a Palestinian gunman had opened fire in a restaurant at a settlement near Jericho. After firing one bullet, the gunman fled the scene, the army said. No one was wounded.
The army said several Palestinians had holed up in their homes after the shooting with the help of family and were planning future attacks.
To force the fugitives to surrender, a military bulldozer clawed at the walls of one of the homes as an Israeli commander shouted threats over a loudspeaker. Camp residents reported receiving text messages urging families to keep their children inside and avoid clashing with Israeli troops.
The suspects and family members trickled out of one of the homes and turned themselves in, the military said.
Security forces had levelled much of the house, leaving a pile of rubble and twisted metal. Palestinian protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at military jeeps as they rumbled down the camp streets, while some gunmen opened fire. The Israeli military fired back, wounding six, none critically, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The incursion comes as violence rises in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank under Israel’s new far-right government, which has taken a combative stance against the Palestinians.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.
Since last week’s shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho — a closure that has placed the city under a semi-blockade, disrupting business and creating hours-long bottlenecks at checkpoints that affected even Palestinian security forces, footage showed.
The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for last week’s raid into the Jenin refugee camp that killed 10 Palestinians, declared a halt to security coordination with Israel.Article link: https://www.sheppnews.com.au/world/israeli-army-besieges-homes-in-west-bank-raid/
Article source: Shepparton News / AAP Newswire | Feb 5, 2023