Palestinians clash with Israeli troops during an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 7,2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army raided the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday, Palestinian health officials said, leading to a gunbattle that killed at least six Palestinians and wounded 10 others.

Israeli military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss events still unfolding, said the army had entered Jenin to arrest suspects involved in the killing of two Israeli brothers in the northern West Bank town of Huwara last week. The army also said it was operating in the nearby flashpoint city of Nablus for the same reason. Residents of Nablus reported that at least two people were arrested before the army withdrew.

The Jenin brigade, a loosely organised armed group based in the refugee camp, said its militants were shooting and throwing explosive devices at Israeli soldiers who had surrounded a house in the refugee camp. Videos showed black smoke billowing from the house after the militant group reported that the army fired missiles at the house when the suspects refused to surrender, the militant group reported.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said six people were shot and killed, including 26-year-old Mohammed Ghazawi, and at least 10 others wounded. The ministry did not immediately offer further details on the other five killed.

The militant group said on Telegram that its fighters shot down two Israeli drones, posting pictures of young men cheering wildly and taking selfies as they held the charred aircraft aloft. The Israeli military said it was aware of the reports but declined to immediately comment.

Tuesday’s raid was the latest in a string of deadly arrest operations by the Israeli military in the northern West Bank, as violence and deaths in the occupied territory surge to the highest levels seen in years. Over the last year of near-daily Israeli military raids, the densely populated Jenin refugee camp has emerged as a hub of militant activity.

More than 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, about half of them militants, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed 14 Israelis, all but one of them civilians, during that same time.

Last month, a rare daytime military raid in the Old City of Nablus targeting the Lion’s Den, a recently formed militant group, sparked an hourslong gunfight that left 10 Palestinians dead. Palestinian armed groups said that six of the casualties were militants. Others appeared to be bystanders.