Israel launches missiles at Gaza Strip following deadly West Bank raid

Israel launches missiles at Gaza Strip following deadly West Bank raid
Israeli forces launched a series of rocket strikes on Friday morning on the besieged Gaza Strip, after massacring nine Palestinians in Jenin and killing a tenth near Ramallah.
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Israeli fired missiles into the besieged Gaza Strip early on Friday [Getty]

Israel launched air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday following the deadliest Israeli army raid on the occupied West Bank in years.

Israeli warplanes fired some 15 missiles at a site in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip according to the Palestinian Wafa agency. The site was destroyed following the missile attack, according to the agency

Damage was caused to nearby properties and a power outage resulted.

Israel carried out at least two rounds of strikes allegedly targeting Hamas members, while no injuries were reported.

Israeli forces claimed they carried out the missile attack following rocket launches from the besieged enclave, while no group in Gaza claimed responsibility.

However, both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups vowed to respond to Thursday's Israeli deadly massacre in the West Bank, which killed nine people.

A 10th Palestinian was killed Thursday by Israeli fire in separate attack on the West Bank near Ramallah.

The victim was identified as Yousef Muheisen, a 22-year-old from al-Ram near occupied east Jerusalem.

The bloodiest day in the West Bank in years began with a raid on the crowded refugee camp in the northern city of Jenin.

In addition to the nine Palestinians killed, 20 others were injured, four of them severely. Palestinian officials also accused the Israeli army of using tear gas inside a hospital.

Among those killed were 61-year-old Majeda Obeid, who lived metres away from a house targeted by the Israeli forces. 24-year-old Saeb Essam Mahmoud Izreiqi and 26-year-old Izz Al-Din Yassin Salahat, were also killed.

Majeda's daughter, Kefiyat Obeid, told AFP her mother was shot as she peered out her window at the clashes. Israeli authorities completely cut off the camp's electricity supply.

"After she finished her prayers, she stopped for a moment to look and, as she stood up, she was hit in the neck by a bullet and she fell against the wall and then to the floor," the 26-year-old told AFP, as bloodstains soaked into the rug of their home.

Since its records began in 2005, the United Nations has never logged such a high death toll in a single operation in the West Bank.

The Israeli attack prompted the Palestinian Authority to announce it was cutting security coordination with Israel.

'State of panic' 

Palestinians said that Israeli forces used tear gas in the children's ward of the Jenin Government Hospital.

Wisam Bakr, the hospital director, said there was a "state of panic" in the paediatric ward, with some children suffering from tear gas inhalation.

The Israeli military claimed however that "the activity was not far away from the hospital, and it is possible some tear gas entered through an open window".

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Jenin resident Umm Youssef Al-Sawalmi said homes were hit during the raid. "Windows, doors, walls and even the refrigerator, everything was damaged by the bullets," she told AFP.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi vowed that "the resistance is everywhere and ready and willing for the next confrontation".

The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank so far this year to 30, including fighters and civilians, most of whom were shot by Israeli forces.

Saleh al-Arouri, deputy leader of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, vowed that Israel "will pay the price for the Jenin massacre".

'Bloody massacre'

Washington earlier Thursday announced US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel next week to Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he will push for an "end to the cycle of violence".

US regional allies Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all strongly condemned the deadly Israeli incursion.

The mounting toll follows the deadliest year in the Palestinian territory recorded by the UN.

More than 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in 2022, the majority in the West Bank, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

Israel has conducted near-daily deadly raids on Palestinian cities in the West Bank, which it has illegally occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

UN peace envoy Tor Wennesland said he was "deeply alarmed and saddened by the continuing cycle of violence in the occupied West Bank".

Thousands flocked to funerals in Jenin, as the Palestinian presidency announced three days of mourning. It said that Thursday's raid was happening "under international silence".