(CTN NEWS) – On Friday, tensions in the West Bank reached a boiling point, marked by intense confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces.
This escalation followed a deadly raid by Israeli troops in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem on Thursday.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, the raid resulted in the deaths of 13 individuals, including five children.
Israeli media reports suggested that Israeli troops initiated the operation using a drone, followed by a prolonged gun battle involving armed groups within the camp, which led to the loss of civilian lives and the deaths of several militants.
Defense for Children International in Palestine raised concerns over the incident, alleging that Israeli forces employed an American-supplied Apache helicopter, which “fired a missile toward a group of Palestinian civilians, mostly children.”
This action also reportedly impeded Palestinian ambulances from reaching the wounded.
The casualties of this raid prompted thousands from the Nur Shams camp to attend funerals for the victims, drawing significant support from organizations like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a paramilitary offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood group.
This development highlights the increasing prominence of armed groups within the West Bank.
Residents of the Nur Shams camp emphasized that the responsibility for their suffering lies with the Israeli occupation, arguing that blaming various Palestinian factions like Hamas, Fatah, or the Islamic Jihad for their plight is unwarranted.
They contend that the Israeli military’s actions have led to the loss of life among women and children, inciting protests that expose Palestinian civilians to deadly force.
Ahmad, a 21-year-old member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who participated in the protests, claimed that one Israeli soldier had been killed and several others were injured during the raid, underlining the volatility and violence that continue to plague the region.
The recent escalation of tensions in the West Bank has ignited a series of confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces.
The trigger for this unrest was a deadly raid by Israeli troops, during which the Palestinian health ministry reported 13 casualties, including five children, in the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem.
According to Israeli media, the raid involved a drone, followed by a prolonged gun battle with armed groups in the camp, resulting in civilian and militant casualties.
Organizations like Defence for Children International in Palestine have accused Israeli forces of deploying an American-supplied Apache helicopter, which allegedly fired a missile toward Palestinian civilians, primarily children, and hindered Palestinian ambulances from reaching the wounded.
These events have led to thousands from the Nur Shams camp attending funerals for the victims, with a notable presence of supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), reflecting the growing prominence of armed groups in the West Bank.
Many residents in the West Bank have expressed that the blame for their suffering rests with the Israeli occupation.
The volatile situation has prompted protests and calls for justice among Palestinians, who feel outraged by the loss of innocent lives and demand accountability for the violence.
Without a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a stable security environment, the cycle of protests, confrontations, and tragedies continues in the region.
Since the attack by Hamas militants on October 7th, which resulted in many Israeli casualties, a wave of violence has been slowly spreading across the West Bank as the death toll rises in Gaza.
Palestinians are increasingly concerned about what they perceive as the Israeli military’s growing willingness to use live ammunition against protesters.
They also express alarm at the perceived impunity of the approximately 700,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, many of whom are armed.
According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, on Thursday evening, armed settlers opened fire in Bethlehem, injuring at least three individuals.
In Hebron, a child was reportedly wounded by gunfire from the Israeli military.
Throughout Friday, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces at various points in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Youths confronted armed Israeli soldiers at checkpoints that have remained closed since the Hamas attack.
The Palestinian health ministry reported that a young man was shot in the chest with live ammunition during a confrontation with Israeli security forces outside the Ofer prison complex near Ramallah.
There were also reports of Israeli settlers opening fire on Palestinians harvesting olives in the village of Yasuf, south of Nablus.
Israel has maintained control of the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Incidents of settler violence have increased over the past few years.
Human Rights Watch and the Israeli rights group B’Tselem have labeled the unequal rights afforded to Palestinians as an “apartheid” system, particularly in the West Bank.
This situation has led to growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority and a sense that Palestinian security forces should be on the side of the people rather than opposing them.
Earlier this week, a tragic incident unfolded in the West Bank as Palestinian Authority security forces fatally shot a 12-year-old girl and injured a university student.
This sparked protests in Ramallah, the largest city in the West Bank, which is the seat of the Palestinian Authority.
These protests resulted in clashes between Palestinian security forces and demonstrators demanding the removal of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The growing presence of armed Palestinian militias in the West Bank reflects a belief among the population that they must defend themselves due to a perceived lack of leadership protection.
Jamal Zakout, a former adviser to ex-Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, highlights that this surge in self-defense is a response to the perception that there is insufficient protection, with a particular focus on safeguarding Israeli settlers accused of committing crimes regularly.
Since Hamas’s attack on October 7, at least 83 Palestinians have lost their lives in the West Bank, whether due to Israeli forces, settlers, or Palestinian Authority security forces, with over 1,400 individuals sustaining injuries.
Among the casualties, there is an alarming increase in minors, including four children shot within 24 hours.
Defense for Children International (DCI) Palestine reported that live ammunition is increasingly being used against Palestinian minors by Israeli security forces, often resulting in fatal head, chest, and abdomen injuries.
In Nur Shams, video footage from the tragic incident’s aftermath revealed a devastation scene, with burnt-out vehicles in the camp’s narrow streets and ambulances and people gathering amid the debris and buildings reduced to concrete skeletons.
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