Tension and calm after a deadly raid on Jenin, which triggered an exchange of missiles between Israel and Gaza | Palestinian territories

Israel and occupied Palestinian territories Tension remained, but calm after an exchange of rocket fire between the Gaza Strip and Israel as a result of a bloody raid in the West Bank.

the Israel The Israeli army entered the Jenin refugee camp in the north of the occupied territories at around 7 a.m. (5 a.m. GMT) on Thursday based on intelligence indicating that a cell linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was planning to carry out imminent attacks, the army said in a statement.

Palestinian armed groups claimed responsibility for two civilians and seven men They were killed in a fierce gunfight that ensued. Many camp residents said the violence was the worst they had seen since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in the 2000s. The death toll from the raid is the highest in a single Israeli operation recorded by the United Nations since records began in 2005.

Thursday’s events in Jenin prompted the Palestinian Authority, which has limited governing powers in the West Bank, to announce it was suspending security cooperation with Israel, and sparked confrontations elsewhere: Two more Palestinians were shot dead by soldiers in protests that turned violent. At checkpoints near Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

During Friday night, six rockets were fired from the Islamist-controlled Gaza Strip towards southern Israel, four of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. The Israeli army responded by launching air strikes on what it said were two military sites in central Gaza. Gaza and Israeli fire appeared to be limited in range, and no casualties were reported on either side.

Map of Jenin, Gaza, Israel

The leader of Islamic Jihad, a movement smaller and more aggressive than Hamas, which rules the Strip, claimed responsibility for the attack from Gaza during a rally in Gaza City on Friday that drew thousands of people.

Efforts by international mediators to defuse the tension appear to have succeeded, with no immediate sign of an escalation in a war of the kind seen between Israel and the Gaza Strip several times since Hamas took control of the strip in 2007.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount, which is often a contact card for violence, remained quiet during Friday prayers, which were accompanied by a heavy Israeli police presence.

However, fears that the intractable conflict could spiral out of control again have not been dispelled. Thursday’s events come against the backdrop of the nine-month-old Israeli military campaign targeting Palestinian factions in Jenin and near Nablus, which was launched in response to the wave of deadly Palestinian terrorist attacks last spring.

In 2022, some 250 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and 30 Israelis, making last year the deadliest since 2004. A surprise three-day Israeli bombing campaign against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in August killed another 49 people, according to the health Gaza. Ministry. So far this month, 31 Palestinians have been killed.

New poll It indicates that support for the stagnant peace process is at an all-time low on both sides, and it is widely feared that the recent election of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history will increase tensions.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is due to arrive for talks in Egypt, Israel and the West Bank next week. In a statement released Thursday, the State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by the violence and urged both sides to de-escalate.

Palestinian officials said the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar have also urged calm, while the UN Security Council is expected to meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the deteriorating security situation.

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