Israel forces kill five Palestinians in Jericho camp raid: Israeli official

Israel forces kill five Palestinians in Jericho camp raid: Israeli official
2 min read
06 February, 2023
The early morning raid came amid a week-long siege of Jericho, an ancient city in the occupied West Bank.
Protesters tried on Monday to keep Israeli forces out of the city [Getty]

Israeli forces on Monday killed five alleged Palestinian fighters in a raid in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli official said, after a days-long search for suspects in a shooting near Jericho.

Hamas confirmed its fighters were among the dead, with the Gaza-based group saying in a statement that it was mourning members of its military wing killed "in an armed clash with the Zionist occupation".

According to the Palestinian health ministry, three others were also shot by Israeli occupying forces.

The early morning raid came amid a surge of Israeli violence across the West Bank, and over a week of siege on the city since late last month.

The Israeli security official, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media, told AFP the army was holding the bodies of the Palestinian dead.

The army said in a statement that "a number" of armed men were killed in a gunfight during the raid on the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp at the entrance to the city, which lies close to the Jordanian border.

It reported no casualties among the Israeli forces.

"A number of armed assailants were killed after firing toward IDF (Israeli army) soldiers who were operating in the area," the army said.

In an initial statement, the Palestinian health ministry reported "three citizens were shot by the Israeli occupation during the attack of Jericho," one of them in critical condition.

Violence is rare in Jericho, a popular destination for tourists who are drawn to the ancient city's religious and cultural sites.

Israel said the Monday raid had targeted "the Hamas terrorist squad that carried out the shooting attack" on 28 January, when, according to the army, two armed men approached an Israeli settlement restaurant near the Palestinian city.

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The suspects fled and the army has since reinforced its presence around Jericho and carried out extensive searches at checkpoints.

An AFP correspondent last week reported cars backed up at entrances to Jericho with queues lasting hours.

Jericho governor Jihad Abu al-Assal said the situation amounted to a "siege" which was "incurring huge costs" to local businesses, agriculture and the tourism industry.

Governor Assal called the latest raid "a heinous crime, on top of the crimes committed by the occupation every day against our Palestinian people".

"We call on the world to stop this occupation, and to protect our people from the occupier," he told AFP on Monday.