RAMALLAH: Four Palestinians were killed and dozens injured, some seriously, in an Israeli military attack early Wednesday in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces said they shot dead two Palestinians suspected of involvement in the recent gun attack. Two others were killed and 44 injured when local residents protested the raid.
Video footage showed plumes of smoke apparently rising from a house in the camp after an explosion. Men hid behind cars on the streets as heavy gunfire was heard.
President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party said one of the men killed in the clashes was Ahmed Alawneh, a 24-year-old intelligence officer.
The party added the raid was a “dangerous escalation”. She called for demonstrations to honor the “heroic martyrs” and “unite the battlefields against the Israeli occupation trying to weed out and isolate Jenin.”
Thousands later attended the funeral of the four dead, amid calls for revenge.
Jenin Governor Maj. Gen. Akram Rajoub told Arab News that the Israeli army used excessive force and intended to kill.
He said the two wanted men died in the courtyard of a house surrounded by Israeli soldiers, although they had no weapons and offered no resistance.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister, called for the man-killers to be brought before the International Criminal Court. Mosques announced mourning and a general strike in Jenin and Nablus.
Ninety Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank since the beginning of this year.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the killings showed that “this occupation, which perpetrates terrorism in all its forms against our Palestinian people,” understands only violence.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian Presidency, said the “dangerous Israeli escalation” will not bring legitimacy, security or stability to Israel.
He added that Israel is an international pariah and that the US, its main ally, has lost credibility with its continued calls for calm while Palestinian lives, lands and holy sites are being destroyed.
“The occupation still insists on crossing all red lines, whether in Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus or the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories,” he said.
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said the “occupation’s terrorism” will not break Jenin’s resolve and “the overthrow of the martyrs will become fuel for the resistance.”
He added that the fight against Israel will continue until it is expelled from all Palestinian land.
Israel accused Hamas of stoking tensions in the West Bank and claimed that an explosive device was detonated when its soldiers tried to arrest the wanted men in Jenin and that both died in an exchange of fire.
Hamas has also been accused by Israel of fomenting Palestinian resistance at the Al-Aqsa compound in east Jerusalem, which has been stormed by Jewish settlers for three consecutive days.