Israeli raid in West Bank's Nablus kills 10 and wounds dozens

Man aged 72 and 14-year-old boy among those killed

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Israeli soldiers killed 10 Palestinians, including at least three gunmen, and wounded scores more during a raid on a usually bustling street in the central West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

The Israeli army said the raid had been carried out against suspected militants accused of shootings in the West Bank who were staying “in a hideout apartment”, and that its troops came under live fire but suffered no casualties.

Top Palestinian official Hussein Al Sheikh condemned the incursion as a “massacre” and called for “international protection for our people”.

The Arab League said the raid amounted to a “heinous crime”.

Health officials said 82 people were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds while the Red Crescent said it had treated 250 for tear gas inhalation and other injuries.

An Israeli raid last month in nearby Jenin also killed 10 in what was the deadliest operation in the West Bank since 2005.

Huge crowds gathered outside Nablus's Rafidia hospital, waiting for news of dozens of casualties being treated at the facility.

The Israeli military said it had killed the three suspected militants either while they were fleeing or in an “exchange of fire”.

“Armed suspects shot heavily towards the forces, who responded with live fire,” said the military. It added that rocks, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli troops.

The Islamic Jihad militant group said one of its commanders had been killed “in a heroic battle against the Israeli occupation army and its special forces”.

The Lions' Den, a local band of fighters, said six of those killed were militants from various factions.

The Quds Network news agency named the commanders as Hussam Islim and Mohammad Abu Bakr.

Among the civilians killed were a 72-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.

The wounded include Palestine TV journalist Mohammed Al Khatib, who was shot in the hand, his colleague told AFP. Three medical workers were also among the wounded that included six critically injured, local medical staff said.

A witness told The National they had seen Israeli troops blocking ambulances from reaching some of the wounded.

Israeli soldiers withdrew from the area after about three hours.

Nablus and Jenin have been targets of Israeli raids against armed Palestinian factions over the past year following a spate of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities.

At least 57 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed so far this year, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Last year was the deadliest for Palestinians since the UN began keeping records in the early 2000s.

Ten Israelis and a Ukrainian tourist have been killed this year.

Palestinian ambulance narrowly escapes Israeli military vehicle during raid

Palestinian ambulance narrowly escapes Israeli military vehicle during raid

The Palestinian Information Centre, an online platform, shared a video showing of black smoke rising in the area where the confrontations took place on Wednesday afternoon.

“Men are burning tyres to distort Israeli occupation forces surrounding a home in Nablus's old city,” it said.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “We condemn the occupation's raid into Nablus and we call for an end to the continued attacks against our people.”

Saeed Abu Ali, the Arab League's assistant secretary general for Palestinian affairs, said: “The occupation authorities and the far-right Israeli government are responsible for this horrible massacre.”

The latest Israeli incursion follows an appeal by UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland for the violence to be halted as an “urgent priority”.

“We have seen ominous signs of what awaits if we fail to address the current instability,” he told the UN Security Council on Monday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel and the Palestinian territories last month, spoke on Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and separately with Mr Abbas, calling both to “restore calm”.

Hamas, another Palestinian militant group that sometimes fights alongside Islamic Jihad, hinted at possible reprisals from the Gaza Strip, a territory that it controls.

“The resistance in Gaza is monitoring the escalating crimes conducted by the enemy against our people in the occupied West Bank and is running out of patience,” Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Hamas armed wing, said on Telegram.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have sworn to destroy Israel but have in the past observed Egyptian-mediated truces with it.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: February 23, 2023, 3:20 AM