Jenin refugee camp, occupied West Bank – On the morning of January 26, Israel launched what residents said was the largest military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank since 2002.
The Israeli army killed nine Palestinians, including two children and a 61-year-old woman, in a matter of several hours, in what Palestinians described as a “massacre”.
Israeli undercover forces, later backed by dozens of armoured vehicles and tractors, raided the camp in private cars just before 7am local time (05:00 GMT) as residents were preparing to go to work and school.
They besieged a home in the Joret al-Dahab neighbourhood of the camp, where several Palestinian resistance fighters were taking shelter, and targeted it with anti-tank missiles and explosives, which also set the house on fire. Three known fighters were killed in the home, while another was injured and arrested by the army.
The fighters were identified as brothers 28-year-old Mohammad and 25-year-old Nour-al Din Ghneim from the town of Burqin on the outskirts of Jenin city, and 30-year-old Mohammad Soboh from the camp. The three were found killed inside the home after the army withdrew from the camp.
Armed clashes then broke out with Palestinian fighters in the camp, during which the Israeli army, including snipers positioned on rooftops, fired live ammunition indiscriminately on homes, windows and cars, residents said, and in some cases using anti-tank grenades, leaving behind a trail of blood and destruction.
The Israeli military justified the operation saying the raid was planned to detain Islamic Jihad fighters.
One woman – 61-year-old Majida Obaid – was shot dead while sitting in front of her bedroom window watching the events from above. Another, 16-year-old Wasim Abu Jaes, was run over by an Israeli military vehicle and killed.
Ambulance cars were prevented for a long period of time from providing aid to the wounded and were directly shot at. Israeli forces also fired tear gas at the Jenin public hospital, which seeped into the children’s division, causing injuries of suffocation among kids.
The Israeli army denied deliberately targeting the hospital. “No one shot tear gas on purpose at a hospital,” an army spokesperson said. “But the activity was not far away from the hospital and it is possible some tear gar entered through an open window.”