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Thousands flee Jenin as Israel’s crackdown on terrorism from West Bank enters the second day

The Israeli force added that it carried out drone attacks from the air on terrorist infrastructure in the Jenin area. 

On Tuesday, 4th of July, Israel’s major anti-terror operation in the West Bank entered the second day. The major offensive is being widely reported as one of the largest such military operations launched by Israel in nearly two decades

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has constantly maintained that they will continue the operation to flush out the armed groups targeting Israel from the West Bank city of Jenin for “as long as it takes”.  

The operation started on Monday, 3rd July. The Israeli military stated that the operation began shortly after 1 AM. The Israeli force added that it carried out drone attacks from the air on terrorist infrastructure in the Jenin area. 

As per media reports, the Israeli forces carried out nearly ten drone strikes on the militant hideouts in the Jenin refugee camp. The strikes were later followed by a ground operation which reportedly included military bulldozers as well. Military officials added that the operation focused on militant targets in the densely populated Jenin refugee camp. 

Reportedly, on the first day of operation, 3rd July, the drone strikes hit an apartment in the centre of Jenin’s refugee camp. As per the Israeli military, the apartment was being used as a “joint operational command centre” for the camp and the Jenin Brigades. ‘Jenin brigades’ are the unit made up of different Palestinian militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The military said Israeli forces also targeted a facility for weapons production and explosive device storage, and located and confiscated an improvised rocket launcher.

As per BBC, Israel stated that it had “dealt a heavy blow to terrorist organisations in Jenin”. Israeli military officials added that a “brigade-size” force was operating in Jenin. Media reports claim that around two thousand soldiers have been deployed in the Palestinian city of Jenin.

IDF rejects reports ordering evacuation in West Bank as “baseless”

After the drone strikes near the Jenin refugee camp, thousands of Palestinians fled the Jenin refugee camp which is currently the major site of the clash. 

Subsequently, there have been gun battles between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists. Although there are differing reports on the number of casualties, Palestinians have claimed that nearly ten people have died so far while more than 50 individuals have suffered injuries. 

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency services group stated that around 3,000 people had already been evacuated from the camp so far. Talking to AFP, Jenin deputy governor Kamal Abu al-Roub said, “There are about 3,000 people who have left the camp so far.” 

While the Palestinian media has claimed that IDF had asked the residents to leave the area, Israeli officials have firmly rejected reports of ordering an evacuation calling it “baseless.”

Defense officials told the Ynet news site that the IDF did not issue an evacuation order. They added that the residents of Jenin were fleeing on their own to escape the fighting.

Jenin: The centre of the conflict

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted that even though the forces are operating in a densely populated area, “they are doing it with minimal harm to civilians.” He said, “In recent months, Jenin has become a haven for terrorism — we are putting an end to it.” 

Israel forces believe that there are hundreds of armed Palestinians in the Jenin area. The Palestinian city has long been a stronghold of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad group and Hamas. It is important to note that Hamas is the Islamic terrorist group that controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza. 

From Jenin alone, 50 shooting attacks have been carried out against the Israeli military in the past six months, as told by Israeli forces. Further, as per the Israeli authorities, around 19 people suspected of attacks on Israelis had found shelter in Jenin. 

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said the goal of the Israeli operation was “to break the safe-haven mindset” of the refugee camp.

The spark for the latest conflict in Jenin

Last month, four Israeli civilians were killed outside a West Bank Jewish settlement by two Hamas gunmen. Though reports claim that the Hamas attackers had no links with suspected terrorists from Jenin, there was intense pressure on the Israeli government to launch a crackdown against terror networks operating against Israel, resulting in the death of their soldiers.

As per the New York Times, the Monday strikes’ by Israel are the most intense airstrikes on the West Bank in nearly two decades. The last time Israel carried out such a major operation in the West Bank was during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in 2002. 

Reports also claim that this year is turning out to be the deadliest for Palestinians in the West Bank in more than a decade. Around 140 terrorists have been killed over the past six months. 

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Searched termsIsrael Palestine
OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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