(CTN NEWS) – In a rare daylight arrest raid on Wednesday, Israeli forces surged into a major Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank, sparking a ferocious gunfight that left at least 10 Palestinians dead and numerous others injured.
The risk of additional carnage increased as it was one of the worst confrontations in almost a year of fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
As the violent Hamas faction in Gaza claimed its patience was “running out,” Israeli police confirmed they were on high alert. Another violent organization, Islamic Jihad, pledged to strike back.
Health officials said that a 16-year-old kid and two Palestinian men, aged 72 and 61, were among the victims.
The four-hour operation in Nablus, a city known for being a militant bastion, caused extensive damage to a centuries-old marketplace.
Israel Increased Arrest Operations Of Wanted Militants In West Bank
In one touching scenario, a distraught doctor mistakenly declared a guy dead after realizing it was his father. Another amateur video showed two individuals being shot as they rushed through the street. The victims seemed to be unarmed.
Since a slew of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel this spring, Israel has increased its arrest operations of wanted militants in the West Bank.
According to Israeli officials, these operations are equivalent to “mowing the lawn” and are required to stop a bad situation from getting worse.
Nevertheless, the raids haven’t done anything to stop the violence, and in situations like Wednesday’s operation, they might even make retaliation more likely.
The Israeli military claimed it invaded Nablus, the commercial hub of the West Bank, to detain three militants believed to be responsible for earlier shooting incidents. In connection with the murder of an Israeli soldier last October, the prime suspect was wanted.
According to the military, conducting operations at night lowers the possibility of civilian casualties. But, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a military spokesman, claimed that after intelligence agencies located the individuals in a hideout, forces moved rapidly.
Israeli Forces Forced Them To Surrender
Israeli forces reportedly ordered the guys to surrender as they approached the structure, but instead, they started shooting. A militant was shot and killed as he attempted to exit the structure.
He claimed that after that, the military launched missiles at the home, leveling it and killing the other two males.
He claimed that at the same time, troops who had established an outside perimeter came under heavy fire, sparking a fierce battle.
A video filmed from inside an armored vehicle as groups of Palestinian youngsters assaulted it with stones was published by officials. The military claimed that others had thrown rocks and bombs at the forces. Israel suffered no casualties.
According to Ahmad Aswad, the head nurse of the cardiology department, the city’s Najah Hospital was overrun by the influx of injured people.
The Associated Press was informed by the 36-year-old medic that many of the victims had been shot in the chest, head, and thighs. He declared, “They shot to kill.”
Chaos Filled In The Streets
He and a colleague skillfully removed a bullet from a 61-year-old man’s heart in a moment that he later claimed would haunt him. They examined the man’s face once the commotion died down and they declared their patient dead.
That was 61-year-old Abdelaziz Ashqar, the father of his coworker.
Elias Ashqar, his coworker, lost it and remained mute. Aswad observed, “It didn’t feel like we were in reality.
People in Nablus’ Old City gawked at the ruins of a sizable house in the ancient marketplace. The stores were strewn with gunshots from end to end. Crushed were parked automobiles.
The cement ruins were stained with blood. There were piles of trash and scattered pieces of furniture from the wrecked house.
Security footage with a time stamp that was published extensively online appeared to show two young males rushing down a street. Both tumble to the ground after hearing gunshots, with one’s cap flying off his head.
Although the two guys did not appear to be carrying weapons, the shooting’s sequence of events was not captured on camera.
The military was looking into the footage, according to Hecht, who referred to it as “difficult.”
Ten people were declared deceased by the Palestinian Health Ministry, including Ashqar and a man in his seventies. Six of the dead, including the three people the raid was intended to target, were identified as members of various Palestinian militant groups.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the other people belonged to armed organizations. Eventually, authorities claimed a 66-year-old man had died from inhaling tear gas.
Many thousands of people crowded the streets while chanting in favor of the militants as the dead were carried through the throng on stretchers. Men in masks fired into the sky.
In anticipation of violence, the Israeli police force announced that it was stepping up security in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Ten individuals were slain by Israeli soldiers in a comparable operation in the northern West Bank last month. Palestinian insurgents responded by launching rockets from Gaza.
The next day, seven people were killed when a lone Palestinian gunman opened fire close to a synagogue in an east Jerusalem settlement.
Days later, an Israeli arrest raid elsewhere in the West Bank resulted in the deaths of five Palestinian militants. Following that, a Palestinian automobile rammed into a car in Jerusalem, killing three Israelis, including two young brothers.
Less than two months after the installation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new hard-line government, fighting breaks out at a delicate time.
The ultranationalists who control the government have called for stronger measures against Palestinian militants and pledged to firmly establish Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank.
As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches, senior security officials have expressed concern that this could result in even more bloodshed, according to Israeli media reports.
A number of West Bank settler leaders are members of the cabinet. The settlement council, Yesha, stated that Israeli planning officials had approved roughly 2,000 new dwellings in settlements around the West Bank, a move that might escalate tensions.
The administration did not immediately confirm the news, although a statement was anticipated for Thursday.
Settlements constructed on occupied territories, according to the Palestinians and the majority of the international community, are forbidden and a barrier to peace.
On the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel conquered in 1967 and which the Palestinians aspired for a future state, more than 700,000 settlers now reside.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department in Washington, stated that although the United States acknowledges Israel’s “very genuine” security concerns, it is also “very concerned” about the deaths and injuries resulting from the raid.
He advised both sides to refrain from taking actions that would “inflame tensions,” such as possibly approving brand-new settlements.
Israeli action follows a harsh condemnation of settlement building from the U.N. president. What would have been a stronger, legally binding council resolution was prevented by the United States.
Israeli officials allegedly agreed to avoid taking unilateral action to prevent the resolution, according to American diplomats. It would seem that Israel’s sanctioning of new settlements disproves that assertion.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, pleaded with all nations “to put a halt to these massacres against our people.”
Hamas’ “patience is running out,” according to Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the terrorist organization in charge in the Gaza Strip.
Late on Wednesday, Palestinian protesters set tires on fire along Gaza’s border with Israel.
Since taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has engaged in four conflicts with Israel.
Ziyad Al-Nakhala, the chairman of the Islamic Jihad, described the Israeli raid as “a major crime.”
As resistance troops, “it is our responsibility to immediately react to this crime,” he stated.
According to an AP count, this year has seen the deaths of nearly 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
According to statistics provided by the Israeli rights organization B’Tselem, last year saw the highest death toll among Palestinians in certain regions since 2004 at close to 150.
Palestinian attacks claimed the lives of about 30 Israelis.
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