Seven Palestinians dead after Israeli raids on West Bank

Drone strike on vehicle in Tulkarm camp killed four civilians, local Fatah official says

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian man during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. EPA
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Seven Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, official Palestinian media said.

Israel carried out overnight raids on two refugee camps in the West Bank city of Nablus, as well as a drone strike on a vehicle that killed four in Tulkarm refugee camp.

Israeli troops prevented ambulances from reaching the site of the Tulkarm strike, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported.

‏🚨خلال منع الاحتلال لطواقم اسعاف الهلال الأحمر الفلسطيني 🚑الدخول لمخيم طولكرم لنقل اصابات هناك. 🚨The Israeli occupation...

Posted by ‎Palestine Red Crescent society الهلال الاحمر الفلسطيني‎ on Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Eyad Jarrar, secretary general of the Fatah party in Tulkarm, said the four were not militants, and accused Israel of collective punishment to “pressure people in the camps to abandon the resistance”.

“They are destroying roads, the sewage system, shops, public areas in the camp and the city,” he added.

Mr Jarrar said the raids are a sign that Israel wants “escalation” in the West Bank.

Three people were also killed in a drone strike on a vehicle near the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, Palestinian state news agency Wafa reported

Ahmad Jibril, head of the ambulance department at the Palestinian Red Crescent, told The National Israeli troops had “towed away” the vehicle, with bodies inside.

The Red Crescent received one body, which was impossible to identify after the drone strike, Mr Jibril said. “The Israelis seem to have forgotten about that body, and had left it behind.”

The Israeli military said it had “eliminated” one person, identified as the leader of Al Aqsa Brigades militant group in Nablus, accused by Israel of several attacks.

The fighting comes as the Institute for the Study of War suggested it was likely that Palestinian militants are returning to northern areas of Gaza.

Israeli security officials have said in recent days that they are transitioning to a “less intense phase” of fighting in northern Gaza. However, air strikes have continued in the enclave.

Israeli troops detained at least 84 people in the West Bank on Wednesday, Wafa reported, including at least 40 workers from Gaza, a 16 year-old in Ramallah, and an injured man in Jericho.

In Gaza, communication cuts continued for a fifth day as the death toll rose to more than 24,400 people, with more than 61,500 injured, the enclave's Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

UN human rights agency Ocha said this was the seventh round of communications cuts in the territory since the war began on October 7, after Hamas killed about 1,200 people in a surprise attack on southern Israel.

At least 163 Gazans were killed and 350 injured in Israeli shelling on Tuesday night, the Health Ministry said.

Thousands more remain under rubble as emergency services face difficulties in reaching them due to blocked or destroyed roads.

Qatar said on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached between Israel and Hamas to deliver medicine and aid to civilians in Gaza in exchange for medicine for Israeli hostages in the enclave.

The agreement was brokered in co-operation with France, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The medicine and aid was set to be sent to the Egyptian city of Al Arish by two Qatari military planes on Wednesday.

From there, it is to be delivered to the Gaza Strip, Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr Majed Al Ansari said.

Updated: January 17, 2024, 12:57 PM