Israeli raids on West Bank leave 5 dead

4. Israeli Raids
Mourners carry the body of Osama Soboh, a Palestinian killed by Israeli occupation forces near Jenin, during his funeral in the village of Burqin in the Israeli occupied West Bank on September 26, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
BIDDU, Palestinian Territories — Israeli forces clashed with Hamas fighters in the West Bank on Sunday in several fierce gun battles that left five Palestinians dead and two Israelis seriously wounded, officials said.اضافة اعلان

The violence started after Israeli occupation forces launched an overnight raid to dismantle a “Hamas cell” and arrest suspected fighters, Israel said.

The raids, which Israeli forces said led to the arrests of several Palestinians, marked some of the heaviest fighting in recent weeks in the Palestinian territory that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed five deaths from Israeli gunfire, including two near Jenin and three more in the Biddu area, made up of several villages between Ramallah and Jerusalem. 

“The sound of gunfire” rang out around 4am, followed by “strong explosions”, said Ayed Shamasneh, 44, a resident in the Biddu area, where an AFP photographer saw blood soaking the ground in the village of Beit Annan. 

Israeli occupation forces said that “in five simultaneous operations” troops killed five Palestinians in a shootout, and apprehended several others.

Israel said during an arrest in Burqin two soldiers were severely injured.  

“The possibility that the injuries were caused by our forces’ fire is being investigated,” the statement added, saying the troops received “life-saving medical treatment”.

Hamas confirmed its fighters had clashed with Israeli forces near Jerusalem and Jenin and said that those killed in the Biddu area — named as Ahmad Zahran, Zakaria Badwan and Mohammed Humaidan — were members of the group. 

Hamas has controlled the Israeli-blockaded Gaza strip since 2007, but also has a strong presence in the West Bank, which is formally controlled by rival group Fatah.

Islamic Jihad, another Islamist militant group and the second strongest in Gaza, issued a statement identifying Osama Soboh as one of its “martyrs” who died in Burqin, praising his “heroism”.

Soboh was buried on Sunday but, according to the Palestinian health ministry, Israel was holding the remaining four bodies.

The Biddu area has been relatively calm for several years but has been hit by previous unrest.

Jenin has been a flashpoint through the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Four Palestinians were killed in the Jenin refugee camp during clashes last month. 

The area was also the focus of an intense manhunt earlier this month after six Palestinians from Jenin governorate broke out of a high-security Israeli prison. All six were later recaptured.

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