IIsrael’s army has begun withdrawing its troops from Jenin in the occupied West Bank about two days after the start of a large-scale military operation. This was confirmed by an army spokesman on Tuesday evening without giving any further information. An Israeli soldier was shot dead during the operation in Jenin, the army said. Five rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip and were intercepted.
The Israeli army said a non-commissioned officer was shot dead Tuesday night while operating against “terrorist infrastructure” in the Jenin camp. He was shot at with “live ammunition”. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, a total of 12 Palestinians were killed during the two-day Israeli operation.
Israeli television showed images of military vehicles returning to Israeli territory. The military action in Jenin, a stronghold of radical Palestinian groups, was ordered on Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Israeli government coalition. “We will not allow Jenin to become a haven for terrorism again,” Netanyahu said Tuesday while visiting a military base near Jenin.
“Five rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” the army said on Wednesday morning. The Israeli air defense successfully intercepted all missiles. There was a siren alarm in the southern city of Sderot.
Twelve Palestinians killed
On Monday night, Israel began one of the largest military operations in the West Bank in decades. After several air strikes, the army moved into the Palestinian city of Jenin with around a thousand soldiers. Since then, the military has fought several violent exchanges of fire with armed residents. At least 12 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others injured.
According to the army, several command centers, weapons depots, weapon production facilities and hiding places of suspects have been destroyed in the past few days. In addition, 30 suspects were arrested. Jenin is considered a stronghold of militant Palestinians. Several residents of the city have carried out deadly attacks on Israelis in recent years.
The north of the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, has been the scene of repeated attacks on Israelis for some time, but also of violence by radical Jewish settlers against Palestinians.
According to Palestinian sources, this was the most massive military operation in five years. According to its own statements, the army made six facilities for the production of explosives and three operations centers unusable in Jenin. In addition, the emergency services had confiscated a large number of weapons.
Around 3,000 of the 18,000 residents of the refugee camp fled the fighting on Monday evening. According to the Deputy Governor of Jenin, Kamal Abu al-Rub, they are to be housed in schools and other emergency shelters for the time being.
On Tuesday, a man from the West Bank, according to Israeli police, injured seven people in an assassination attempt with a car and then with a stabbing weapon in Tel Aviv before an armed passerby shot him dead.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians had already intensified at the beginning of last year. However, under the government of Netanyahu and his coalition partners, some of whom are right-wing extremists, violence has increased again. At least 190 Palestinian militants and civilians, 26 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed since the beginning of the year, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.