A three-day Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin appeared to end on Thursday, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said that Israeli forces had killed at least 12 people and wounded 34 others.
Residents reported seeing Israeli military vehicles leaving the city on Thursday afternoon, signaling an end to the unusually long operation inside Jenin and its refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed resistance in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
More than 100 Palestinians were arrested during the raid, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a nongovernmental rights group.
The Israeli military said in a statement on Wednesday that it had found weapons, ammunition and explosives during the raid and had detained hundreds of people. A day earlier, it said that it had carried out a drone strike that killed several people who had fired on Israeli forces. It did not immediately comment on the raid on Thursday.
Israeli military incursions in Jenin, commonplace for years, have become even more frequent since the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people in Israel. The Israeli military describes the search-and-arrest operations as part of its counterterrorism efforts against Hamas in the West Bank.
Residents and local leaders in the Jenin refugee camp say that the raids are aimed at displacing residents and making conditions there unlivable.
“The raids have gotten more frequent and also more aggressive and violent,” said Mohammad Al Masri, a member of the local committee that runs the camp, adding: “They’ve started coming in and not differentiating between fighter and civilian.”
At least 78 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military raids in Jenin since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, making it the deadliest period in the city in recent years. Across the West Bank, at least 286 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7, most during Israeli raids but others in clashes with extremist Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military has launched dozens of raids in Jenin over the last two months, most aimed at the refugee camp — a built-up, impoverished neighborhood that houses Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced during the wars that surrounded Israel’s creation in 1948 as well as their descendants. The raids usually occur overnight and involve bulldozers, which have destroyed much of the area’s infrastructure.
“It’s collective punishment,” said Mohammad Sabaghi, the head of the committee that runs the camp. “There’s nothing that hasn’t been damaged or destroyed. Water, electricity, phone lines, the sewage system — everything.”
The Palestinian Authority’s health minister, Mai Al-Kaila, said in a statement on Thursday that the situation in Jenin’s hospitals was “very difficult, in light of the escalating aggression” over the past three days. Hospitals were “being subjected to a fierce attack,” the statement said, adding that Israeli forces were obstructing arrivals of wounded people, searching and detaining medical workers, and attacking ambulances.
The Israeli military did not respond to requests for comment on the accusations.
The medical charity Doctors Without Borders said that a father in Jenin had carried his 13-year-old son on foot to a hospital on Wednesday “because Israeli armored cars blocked ambulances,” adding that the boy had been pronounced dead on arrival.
Wisam Baker, the director of the Jenin Hospital, the nearest medical center to the refugee camp, said in an interview that Israeli forces had set up checkpoints outside the hospital during some raids, complicating efforts to deliver medical care to people injured in the incursions.
“It’s difficult for our medical teams to go out and come in, and difficult for patients to enter the hospital, because it’s dangerous,” he said.
Christina Goldbaum contributed reporting.