JENIN, (Palestinian Territories): Israeli forces carried out fresh raids Sunday in the flashpoint West Bank district of Jenin, the home of gunmen who launched two recent deadly attacks, while two Palestinians were killed elsewhere in the occupied territory.
As Israel was laying to rest three of its recent shooting victims, gun battles rocked the Jenin area for a second day, with at least 10 Palestinians wounded in clashes with the army, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
“The State of Israel has gone on the offensive,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said after a cabinet meeting, vowing to “settle accounts with everyone who was linked, either directly or indirectly, to the attacks”.
Israeli troops detained 20 Palestinians in and around Jenin, a bastion of Palestinian militant groups, a military source said.
The operation came after a gunman from Jenin went on a shooting rampage in a Tel Aviv nightlife area Thursday, killing three Israelis and wounding more than a dozen others — the latest in a spate of bloody attacks in the Jewish state.
Militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed the Tel Aviv attack, which was condemned by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
“This is a difficult day,” Bennett said, “the day on which the three people who were murdered in the Tel Aviv terrorist attack are brought to rest.”
Also on Sunday, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian woman who had approached them near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem and failed to stop after they had fired warning shots, the military said.
The woman — a widowed mother of six in her 40s named by the Palestinian news agency Wafa as Ghada Ibrahim Sabatien — died after suffering massive blood loss, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The Islamic Jihad movement condemned her killing as an “execution in broad daylight”.
And in the southern city of Hebron, a Palestinian woman stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli border police officer before she was killed, Israeli police said.
But the centre of Sunday’s heightened tensions was the Jenin area where, the Israeli military source told AFP, Palestinian militants shot from passing vehicles at Israeli soldiers, who responded with live fire.
A total of 20 “wanted individuals” suspected of involvement in “terrorist activities” were apprehended, the source said, while the Palestinian Prisoners Club announced 24 arrests across the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.
The Israeli military source said forces had located stolen Israeli army ammunition and uniforms in the residence of one of the suspects, and an explosive device in another home.