12 hours with no end, Israel continues raid in Tulkram as drone strike kills 9
Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians in two separate drone strikes, in Nablus and Tulkarm, on the morning of Wednesday, 17 January.
In Nablus, Israeli drones killed five Palestinians, including two brothers. According to local sources, Yazan and Seif Najmi are 25 and 27 years old, respectively; Mahmoud Abu Hamdan, 24, and Abdallah Abu Shallal, 40.
The Israeli army said in a statement that it had killed Abdallah Abu Shallal, a leading member of the Balata Brigade, a local Palestinian resistance group in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
In Tulkarm, Israeli drones killed ِAhmad Faraj, Waleed Ghanem, and Ahmed Biddu, all aged between 16 and 17, and Ahmed Mahdawi, aged 24, according to local sources.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a statement that two of its medical staff were injured in an Israeli drone strike very close to one of its ambulances in Tulkarm.
An Israeli air strike targets a group of Palestinians in Tulkarm refugee camp. 17.1.24— Eye on Palestine (@EyeonPalestine) January 17, 2024
قصف ستهدف مجموعة من المواطنين في مخيم طولكرم pic.twitter.com/sOxLymlyYj
The PCRS identified the injured as the female ambulance officer, Safiyah Balbisi, who was wounded in the hand, and a member of the medical team, Abdallah Rabayaa, who was injured in a lower limb.
"The occupation forces entered the edges of the Tulkarm refugee camp at around 4:00 am and began to take over rooftops and place snipers", Hussein Ali, a resident of the camp, told The New Arab.
"Then they sealed off all entrances, isolating the camp from the city, and sent in bulldozers, which began to bulldoze streets, destroying infrastructure", he described. "Around 7:00 am, they finally sent in foot soldiers to the inside of the camp, who began to raid and search houses".
"The raid continues to this moment, with explosions shaking the camp every time and then, by drone strikes or by explosives detonated by local fighters, indicating that confrontations continue", Ali added.
At around 2:00 pm, Israeli media reported that one Israeli soldier was seriously wounded during the fighting in Tulkarm.
Israeli army bulldozers continue their vandalism spree targeting the streets of the Tulkarm refugee camp, north of the occupied West Bank. pic.twitter.com/e1IfJrpUCr— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 17, 2024
"At this moment, there are at least 2000 occupation soldiers in and around the Tulkarm refugee camp", noted Ali. "The bulldozers caused extensive damage, digging deeper in the streets that were already bulldozed in recent raids, blowing out sewage pipes and destroying parts of the water network, cutting services from most of the population".
According to local media sources, Israeli forces have also arrested dozens of Palestinians in Tulkarm since the morning and have gathered many of them outside the camp.
"Early in the morning, a drone missile hit our neighbours' house, but fortunately, there was nobody inside", a 44-year-old woman and resident of the Tulkarm camp told TNA.
"Later, occupation soldiers blew up the front door of our house and stormed in", she detailed. "They began to search the house very violently, shouting and cursing, turning furniture over and hitting and damaging the refrigerator".
A Red Crescent ambulance sustains damage in an Israeli airstrike targeting a group of individuals in Tulkarm refugee camp, north of the occupied West Bank. At least four Palestinians were killed in the airstrike. pic.twitter.com/Z4fMGLi2o4— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 17, 2024
"The soldiers took all of our phones, turned them off and put them on a table, ordering us to remain quiet while they went on searching the house", said the resident. "At the end, they arrested my 20-year-old nephew and left, taking him with them".
"Now we are frightened even to approach the windows because there are occupation snipers everywhere, and they shoot at anything that steps outside", she added.
The Israeli army claimed that its forces "arrested dozens of suspects" in Tulkarm and that its "engineering vehicles have uncovered explosive devices hidden under the roads".
The city of Tulkarm and its adjacent refugee camps have been repeatedly raided over the past days and weeks.
Last week, Israeli forces raided the Tulkarm refugee camp and killed three Palestinians. A week earlier, Israeli forces raided the Nour Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm for two days, arresting hundreds and detonating the house of a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in 2005.
With Wednesday's killings, Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank rose to 16 since the past weekend, after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians on Sunday and three on Monday, including two teenagers and one woman, in Hebron, Ramallah and Tulkarm.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year reached 46. Israeli forces have killed 365 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 7 October.