Israel army in new operations around West Bank city

Palestinians help an injured youth during clashes with Israeli security forces on a raid to look for wanted Palestinians in Nablus city in the occupied West Bank, on April 11, 2022, following a spree of attacks in Israel that has left 14 people dead in the past three weeks. AFP

Summary

  • Tensions have soared since a spree of attacks in Israel left 14 people dead in the past three weeks, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning the Jewish state is now "on the offensive"

Israeli forces launched a third day of operations Monday around the flashpoint West Bank city of Jenin following heavy gun battles in recent days and 20 arrests overnight, the army said.

Tensions have soared since a spree of attacks in Israel left 14 people dead in the past three weeks, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning the Jewish state is now "on the offensive".

Four Palestinians were killed in separate incidents across the occupied territory Sunday, and militant groups in Jenin braced for more battles. 

The city as well as Bethlehem declared general strikes.

Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Jenin on Monday for the funerals of those killed, many carrying Palestinian flags or rifles.

Abu Muadh, military spokesman of the armed factions in Jenin's refugee camp, late Sunday called for "general mobilisation of our fighters to confront any incursion by the Zionist enemy".

Israeli troops were targeting relatives of Raad Hazem, the 28-year-old Jenin man who last Thursday killed three Israeli civilians and wounded 12 at a Tel Aviv bar before he was shot dead following a massive manhunt.

Israeli soldiers Sunday engaged in an exchange of gunfire involving his brothers and also demanded the father hand himself in, ahead of the planned demolition of the family home.

A teen on a motorcycle who opened fire on the Israeli officers in that exchange, Mohamed Zakarneh, 17, was the latest fatality, succumbing to gunshot wounds overnight, the Wafa news agency said.

Another Palestinian from the Bethlehem area was shot dead Sunday after hurling a Molotov cocktail at Israeli troops, the army told AFP. 

The tensions have surged during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, nearly a year after violence flared in the other Palestinian territory, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, leading to 11 days of devastating conflict.

A total of 14 people in Israel have been killed in four attacks since March 22, including a shooting spree in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city in greater Tel Aviv, carried out by a Palestinian from Jenin.

Over the same period, at least 14 Palestinians have been killed, including assailants, according to a count by AFP.