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Israeli forces kill 6 Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza

Published : 20 Sep 2023 10:03 PM

Six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, medics say.

The funerals have taken place for three of the four killed in a late-night military raid of Jenin refugee camp, in which some 30 people were also injured.

Another young Palestinian man was killed during an Israeli raid in Jericho on Wednesday morning.

The sixth was killed during violent demonstrations on Tuesday evening near the Gaza-Israel separation fence.

There was intense fighting on Tuesday night in the Jenin camp, a stronghold of Palestinian militants, where the Israeli military launched its biggest operation in years in the West Bank back in July.

In the morning, residents of the camp cleared up the damage to a house which had been surrounded by Israeli forces. It was left pockmarked with bullet holes, and the floor was covered in broken glass and blood stains.

Large crowds carried the bodies of three of those killed overnight through the camp as they were taken to be buried.

Two were wrapped in the flags of the Islamist militant group Hamas and one in the flag of Islamic Jihad.

Umm Omar showed the dried blood around her fingernails from one young militant she had dragged into her home last night.

RaafatKhamaysi was injured in the exchange of fire with Israeli forces close to her house near the entrance to the camp.

Umm Omar said that he bled for two hours before he died. The nearest hospital is less than 100m (328ft) away, but the continuing fighting prevented an ambulance getting through.

The Israeli military said that its forces came under fire from local gunmen and that it carried out a rare strike using a suicide drone during the raid.

While leaving the camp, the military said, an explosive device detonated underneath one of its vehicles, so that those inside had to be rescued. No soldiers were injured.

A video posted on social media appeared to show Israeli gunfire hitting the minaret of a mosque from which shots were being fired.

All four Palestinians killed were men in their 20s, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Shortly after the Israeli troops withdrew from the refugee camp, the Palestinian Authority (PA) said that gunmen shot at its compound in Jenin. Militants from the camp accused the PA, which governs parts of the West Bank not under full Israeli control, of failing to protect them.

The bloodshed in Jenin was the latest in an upsurge in violence in the West Bank, where the Israeli military says it has been carrying out counter-terrorism activities over the past year and a half.

Wednesday morning saw a deadly Israeli military raid in AqabatJaber refugee camp in Jericho.

The local hospital said that a 19-year-old man who died was shot in the head. He has since been buried.

Witnesses said that locals had thrown stones at Israeli soldiers who entered the camp.

The Israeli military said explosive devices were also thrown as its forces carried out an arrest raid.

Tensions now seem to be spreading to Gaza, where a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces for the first time during several days of violent protests by the separation fence.

The Israeli military said hundreds of rioters gathered next to the fence and detonated explosive devices, and that its forces responded with "riot disposal means and sniper fire".

It added that it was aware that a Palestinian had died and that the incident was under review.

Israel has kept the Erez crossing with Gaza almost completely closed since the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, in response to the recent renewed demonstrations near the fence. Thousands of Palestinian workers were blocked from entering Israel.

The protests in Gaza had been more intense on Tuesday evening, with some participants managing to cut through the fence in one place.

There is speculation that Hamas, which governs Gaza, has allowed the protests to restart as it tries to gain leverage in indirect talks with Israel brokered by Qatar.

Tensions have risen as a result of delays on Qatari aid which Israel allows into Gaza.

A Palestinian official familiar with the negotiations said that these were continuing, but progress had not been made.

Israel blames Hamas for instigating increased attacks against its soldiers and civilians in the West Bank.