Fourteen Palestinians were killed and more than 20 were wounded during renewed clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops inside the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp, the Palestinian Authority health ministry reported on Thursday.
The IDF said it carried out a drone strike against a group of armed Palestinians in the area who were shooting at Israeli forces during the clashes in the late morning.
Troops of the Kfir Infantry Brigade, the elite Duvdevan unit, the Combat Engineering Corps’ Yahalom unit, and Border Police officers were operating in the Jenin refugee camp to locate explosive devices planted there by local terror operatives.
Overnight, the IDF said armored D9 bulldozers uncovered and destroyed dozens of makeshift bombs that were hidden in the refugee camp. Also overnight, troops clashed with gunmen in Jenin, with the IDF saying it carried out another drone strike against a group of armed Palestinians who were shooting at Israeli forces.
Hours later, troops reentered Jenin and new gun battles erupted.
More than 20 wanted Palestinians were detained during the morning operation, the IDF said.
The military confirmed troops had killed at least 12 gunmen during the clashes and in the drone strikes.
During the morning operation, the IDF said forces located a tunnel shaft, which was used by terror operatives to store explosive devices.
Several firearms were seized during the raid, including from gunmen killed by troops, the IDF said.
The PA health ministry also reported that four Palestinians were killed in clashes with the Israeli military in the West Bank town of Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem, in Dura, near Hebron, in Nablus, and near Ramallah. However, the IDF did not comment on the clashes.
Tensions in the West Bank have been escalating since October 7, when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel from Gaza, killing some 1,400 people and taking at least 245 hostages, making it the deadliest day in Israel’s history.
In response, the country has vowed to eradicate Hamas from Gaza, where the group has ruled since 2007, and launched an operation, attacking Hamas both from the air and on the ground.
While the IDF operates inside Gaza, the West Bank has continued to simmer, and since October 7, some 1,430 wanted Palestinians have been arrested across the West Bank, including more than 900 affiliated with Hamas.
The PA health ministry has said that more than 176 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and in some cases, by settlers. The Yesh Din rights group said last week that there had been over 172 incidents of settler violence and harassment against Palestinians in at least 84 Palestinian towns and communities.
At the same time, there has been a noted uptick in terror attacks or attempted terror attacks by Palestinians across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Overnight on Wednesday, two Israelis were shot and wounded near the West Bank settlement of Itamar in an apparent terror attack. The gunman fled the scene of the shooting and the security forces set up roadblocks in the area.
Two days prior, Border Police officer Sgt. Rose Elisheva Lubin, 20, from Kibbutz Sa’ad in southern Israel, was stabbed to death in the Old City of Jerusalem and another officer was injured. Her funeral took place on Thursday morning.
Last week Elhanan Klein, 29, was shot dead as he was returning from army reserve duty to his home in the settlement of Einav in the northern West Bank.
In an attempt to cool the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with mayors of West Bank settlements and assured them that increasing efforts were being made to thwart terror attacks being planned in the area. At the same time, he also condemned attacks on Palestinians carried out by settlers and warned the mayors to rein in the “tiny handful of extremists” responsible for the violence.
Separately, the IDF said that on Wednesday, the head of the Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, signed off on a demolition order for the home of Daoud Faiz, a Palestinian terrorist who rammed into a group of off-duty soldiers and civilians near Modiin in August, killing Sgt. Maksym Molchanov.