Nablus: 11 Palestinians killed during Israeli raid targeting militants in West Bank


Jerusalem and Gaza

At least 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded Wednesday in a rare daytime raid by Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, in what the local director of the Red Crescent described as a “massacre.” As a result of an action described. ”

Israeli officials said Wednesday’s operation in Nablus targeted three suspects who were “planning attacks in the immediate future.” The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Security Agency said in a joint statement that the three were “neutralized.”

All three suspected Palestinian terrorists targeted by the IDF were killed, a list of the dead released by the Palestinian Health Ministry shows.

The IDF said one was shot while fleeing and the other two were killed in a shootout with soldiers.

Israeli officials said the suspects threw stones, Molotov cocktails and “explosive devices” at Israeli forces.

At least 102 people were injured, according to the official Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA), citing the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Seven of the injured are in critical condition, WAFA said.

The Israeli military’s daylight raid began at 10:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. ET), Red Crescent local director Ahmed Jibril told CNN. This is the time when everyone is out shopping in the open market of the old city. No one expects an attack at this time of day,” he said.

Israeli snipers on rooftops were firing live ammunition, he said. “That’s why so many people have been shot in the head, shoulder and back,” he said. He said that most of the dead have been shot in the head.

“People who were unarmed and even away from the old city were also shot. Bullets were everywhere!” He said.

Jibril said a drone was “randomly” dropping tear gas. He also said the drones were firing live, which the IDF has denied.

IDF spokesman Maj. Nir Dinar told CNN that Israel has not fired drones that fire live ammunition into the West Bank.

“I think what they saw were small drones that drop tear gas grenades as a means of rioting, and they were used,” he said.

The Red Crescent’s Jibril said some Israeli special forces were disguised as locals, and while Dinar declined to comment on whether there were undercover Israeli operatives, he said: “The IDF has such capabilities. .”

Jibril said his “teams were prevented from reaching the wounded,” including a four-year-old boy with a heart condition who was knocked unconscious by tear gas.

The IDF’s Dinar said he hoped it was not true that Israeli forces prevented medics from reaching the wounded: “I am not aware of such behavior and I hope it did not happen. If they have evidence, tell us and we will take it to the commanders.

Briefing reporters about the raid, the chief IDF international spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, painted a picture of a large, chaotic event, which he said was “very messy.”

Special forces from the Israeli Security Agency and Border Police approached the house where they believed the suspects were located and asked them to surrender, he said.

“They did not surrender, they barricaded themselves in the house and opened fire extensively on our forces,” he said. He said one of the suspects tried to leave the house and was shot, while the other two continued to exchange fire with the Israelis.

“And at some point, we upgraded our efforts. And rockets were fired at the house as well. And the two boys were neutralized,” he said, later confirming that he meant killed.

Pressed for details about the rockets, he said: “When you get into a situation where people are not surrendering, you intensify the fire.”

A Palestinian confronts an Israeli military vehicle during Wednesday's raid in the West Bank.

But the fighting continued on other fronts, he said, with Israeli intelligence units coming under fire. “It was cars, it was shooting from rooftops and it was motorbikes – a very, very aggressive shooting,” he said. “Lots of violence.”

He said the importance of the targets explained the IDF’s decision to move into terrorist hotspots in broad daylight. While he prefers “nighttime activity,” he said the daylight raid was “based on a specific intelligence signal we received from the Shin Bet,” as the Israeli security agency is commonly known. is

“That’s why we went there. These are the people who killed one of our soldiers.”

The Islamic Jihad militant group said two of its commanders were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

The Lions Den terrorist group also confirmed that its members were involved in the fighting, but did not say if any of its members had been killed.

A member of Hamas was among those targeted in the Nablus raid, the Palestinian militant group said. Hamas claimed Hussam Salim as a member and a martyr, releasing a photo of him holding an assault rifle with a telescopic sight.

Doctors walk through tear gas as they evacuate a wounded Palestinian man during clashes with Israeli forces on Wednesday.

The IDF named him as one of its targets, accusing him of carrying out “shooting and explosive device attacks” and of sending the killers of IDF soldier Ido Baruch last year. The IDF identified Salim as a senior operative in the Lions’ Den, which claimed responsibility for the killing of Baruch in October last year.

There is overlap between the membership of Palestinian terrorist groups.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said six of the dead were men in their 20s. One was 16 years old, one was 33 years old, one was 61 years old and one was 72 years old. All were male, Ministry of the Dead show list.

Relatives mourn the death of a Palestinian killed in an Israeli attack, outside a hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus on February 22, 2023.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the raid brought to 61 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year. That number includes people shot when they attacked Israelis, terrorists targeted in raids, people who clashed with Israeli forces during the raid, and bystanders, CNN records show.

Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks this year: seven in a shooting near a synagogue, three in a car attack, and a border police officer who was stabbed by a teenager and then friendly fire by a civilian security guard. was shot by

IDF raids in the West Bank usually occur overnight; The last time the military conducted a daylight operation, they said it was because of an immediate threat.

The Al Qasm Brigades, the armed faction of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, warned that they were “watching the enemy’s increasing crimes against our people in the occupied West Bank, and its patience is running out.”

The occupied West Bank has been rocked by a series of deadly Israeli military attacks over the past year, as tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories remain sky high in the blood-soaked region.

An Israeli raid in the city of Jenin in January led to the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in more than a year, according to CNN records, killing at least 10 Palestinians that day and one dying of his wounds. A day later, at least seven civilians were killed in a shooting near a synagogue in Jerusalem – in what Israel described as one of its worst terror attacks in recent years.

It comes as Netanyahu leads a cabinet that has been described as the most right-wing and religious in the country’s history.

Netanyahu previously told CNN’s Jake Tapper that people could be “stuck” on peace talks with the Palestinians, saying he has opted for a different approach.

As relations between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants boil over, CNN’s Hadas Gold said Wednesday’s scenes represent the likes of “not seen since the second intifada,” or uprising.

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