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At least 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 were injured during a rare daytime raid by Israeli military forces in the West Bank on Wednesday, as reported by CNN.
Israeli authorities said that Wednesday’s operation in Nablus targeted three suspects that were planning attacks on Israel. The three were neutralized, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel Security Agency said in a joint statement. The Islamic Jihad militant group said two of its commanders were killed in the clashes with Israeli troops, CNN reported.
The Lion’s Den militant group also confirmed its members were involved in the fighting but did not say if any of their members were killed.
One of the dead targeted in the Nablus raid was a Hamas member, the Palestinian militant group said. Hamas claimed Hussam Salim as a member and a martyr.
The IDF said one was shot while fleeing and the other two were killed in an exchange of fire with the military, CNN reported.
The IDF named him as one of their targets, accusing him of carrying out “shooting and explosive device attacks” and dispatching the killers of IDF soldier Ido Baruch last year. The IDF identified Salim as a senior operative of Lion’s Den, which claimed responsibility for the killing of Baruch in October of last year.
Israeli authorities said that suspects threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and explosive devices at Israeli forces.
At least 102 people are injured, according to the official Palestinian News & Information Agency (WAFA) citing the Palestinian health ministry. Seven of the injured are in critical condition, WAFA reported.
Six of the dead were men in their 20s, the Palestinian health ministry said. One was 16, one was 33, one was 61 and one was 72. All were men, the ministry list of dead shows.
The raid brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to 61 this year, the Palestinian health ministry said. That number includes people shot as they attacked Israelis, militants being targeted in raids, people clashing with Israeli forces during raids, and bystanders, CNN reported.
CNN reported that the Israeli military’s daytime raid began at around 10:15 am when everyone is out shopping in the open market of the old city.
As per the reports, most of the injured and dead are shot in the head, shoulders, and back.
Locals said there was a drone dropping tear gas and firing live ammunition, which the IDF denied.
“Israel did not operate drones that fired live ammunition in the West Bank,” Maj. Nir Dinar, an IDF spokesman, said as quoted by CNN.
The IDF’s Dinar said that he hoped it was not true that Israeli troops had prevented medics from reaching the wounded: “I am not familiar with such behaviour and I hope it did not happen. If they have evidence, let us know and we will take it to the commanders.”
Briefing journalists about the raid, the main IDF international spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said that Israeli Security Agency and Border Police Special Forces had approached the house where they believed the suspects were located and told them to surrender.
“They didn’t surrender, they confined themselves into the house and opened extensive fire on our forces,” he said. One of the suspects tried to leave the house and was shot, he said, while the other two continued exchanging fire with the Israelis.
Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks this year: seven in a shooting near a synagogue, three in a car ramming attack, and a border police officer who was stabbed by a teenager and then shot by friendly fire from a civilian security guard.
IDF raids into the West Bank usually occur overnight; the last time the military conducted a daylight operation, they said it was because of an immediate threat.
An Israeli raid in the city of Jenin in January caused the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in over a year, according to CNN records, with at least 10 Palestinians killed on the day and one dying later of his wounds. One day later, at least seven civilians died in a shooting near a synagogue in Jerusalem – which Israel deemed one of its worst terror attacks in recent years.
This comes as Netanyahu leads a cabinet that has been described as the most far-right and religious in the country’s history.