Jenin, Occupied West Bank: Israeli forces on Sunday carried out fresh raids into the flashpoint West Bank district of Jenin, a bastion of Palestinian militant groups and the home of gunmen who launched recent deadly attacks.
At least 10 people were wounded in clashes in Jenin, as well as in Jericho and Tulkarem, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday, while the Palestinian Prisoners Club announced 24 arrests in various West Bank cities.
“Troops are currently operating in the city of Jenin,” in the north of the West Bank, a territory occupied since 1967 by Israel, the Israeli army said in a brief message.
The military operation came after a gunman from Jenin went on a shooting rampage in a popular Tel Aviv nightlife area on Thursday evening, killing three Israelis and wounding more than a dozen others.
Israel said Friday it had killed the alleged attacker, Raad Hazem, 28.
A total of 14 people have been killed in four attacks in Israel since March 22, including another shooting spree on March 29 in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city near Tel Aviv, which was carried out by a Palestinian attacker also from Jenin.
Some attacks have been carried out by assailants linked to or inspired by Daesh.
Over the same period, at least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including assailants, according to a count by AFP.
‘Whatever it takes’
“We will do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, for however long and wherever needed, until both safety and the sense of security are restored,” army chief Aviv Kochavi told soldiers in a video released by the military.
On Saturday, the Israeli army and border police had also carried operations in Jenin.
Troops raided the Jenin refugee camp and, amid heavy gun battles, killed a 25-year-old Palestinian member of Islamic Jihad, the main Palestinian armed Islamist movement besides Hamas.
The Jenin refugee camp is a stronghold of armed factions, where three other Palestinians linked to an anti-Israeli attack were killed by the army last week.
Israel has also restricted access to Jenin, closing crossing points and stepped up security checks.
The new operation comes ahead of the funerals of the three Israeli civilians killed in Tel Aviv on Thursday night - childhood friends Tomer Morad and Eytam Magini, and father-of-three Barak Lufan - which are expected later on Sunday in the central town of Kfar Saba and the northern kibbutz of Ginosar.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed that attack, which was condemned by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Tensions have been heightened during Ramadan, after violence flared during the Muslim holy month last year leading to 11 days of devastating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Israeli authorities on Sunday also reported “vandalism” at the tomb of Joseph, the son of the patriarch Jacob, a Jewish pilgrimage site near the West Bank city of Nablus.
Following Thursday’s attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave security agencies “full freedom” to end the deadly violence that has surged since March 22 “in order to defeat terror”.
“There are not and will not be limits for this war,” Bennett said.
The latest violence comes as Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, the start of the most solemn week in their religious calendar, with processions in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.