Palestinians wounded, detained as Israel raids, besieges W. Bank refugee camp

Palestinians wounded, detained as Israel raids, besieges W. Bank refugee camp
Israeli forces Saturday dawn stormed a camp in the occupied West Bank territory, allegedly in pursuit of gunmen behind a restaurant shooting last week.
3 min read
04 February, 2023
Israeli forces remained in the Aqbat Jabr camp for hours Saturday morning [Getty]

Israeli forces detained a number of Palestinians and left more wounded after raiding and besieging a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank early on Saturday before pulling out.

From dawn, the Israeli military surrounded the Aqbat Jabr camp, east of the West Bank, prompting clashes with Palestinian residents.

The camp was cut off from the town of Jericho and turned into a military zone, while ambulances were prevented from entering, local sources told The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Israel claims the perpetrators behind a shooting at a restaurant near the Dead Sea eight days ago were holed up in the camp.

The Israeli army has boosted its forces around the area and increased raids since that shooting. The regional Palestinian governor said earlier this week that Jericho was "under siege".

Israeli forces deployed snipers on the rooftops of houses and surrounded the entrances to the Maqayta neighbourhood in the Aqbat Jabr camp, according to the sources. The raids resulted in confrontations with the Palestinians.

The Palestinian health ministry released a statement at 9:20 am (6:20 GMT) saying that six of the camp’s residents had been injured, including two in the chest and the abdomen, and were taken to hospital.

One person who was in a critical condition was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah.

It was not immediately clear how many people were detained.

Israeli bulldozers partially demolished a house in the camp. It was not clear who the residency belonged to, but some reports claimed it belonged to one of the perpetrators behind the restaurant shooting last week who Israeli forces were searching for Aqbat Jabr.

Videos shared online showed the demolished house.

Israeli forces withdrew from the camp before noon on Saturday.

The escalation follows weeks of violence in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem - both annexed by Israel in 1967 - that has seen some of the worst attacks in years against Palestinians and Israelis.

Last month, a deadly Israeli raid in the West Bank town of Jenin killed up to 10 Palestinians, and a shooting attack at an illegal Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem killed seven.

A flare up has also been seen in the besieged Gaza Strip lately, where Israeli forces have launched a number of airstrikes claiming to be targeting the Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups.

Palestinian fighters from Gaza reacted by firing rockets into Israel.