17 Palestinians killed as West Bank rocked by Israeli raids and shootings

Violence has increased in the occupied territory since the start of the Israel-Gaza war

People walk amid rubble after an Israeli raid at Nur Shams refugee camp, Tulkarm, in the occupied West Bank. Reuters
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An Israeli raid at Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank has killed at least 14 people, amid a spate of shootings and militant attacks that left three more dead.

Wafa, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, called the raid a 48-hour onslaught, where Israeli forces, “carried out extensive demolition and destruction of infrastructure and properties, targeted the camp's bakery, commercial shops, houses, and walls, and destroyed several vehicles”.

Clashes on Sunday were followed by an attempted attack on an Israeli checkpoint at Beit Einun junction near Hebron, which left two suspected attackers dead.

The Israeli military said 10 members of armed groups had been killed during the raid.

Nur Shams refugee camp was established in 1952 and like other Palestinian refugee camps in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which saw the creation of Israel and the mass displacement of Palestinians, has become a permanent settlement. Today Nur Shams has multistorey buildings, mosques and schools, but suffers high unemployment.

About 10,000 Palestinians live there, one of 19 refugee camps housing 200,000 people in the West Bank, where service provision, including sanitation, is often lacking.

The Tulkarm Brigades, which groups forces from numerous Palestinian factions, said its fighters exchanged fire with Israeli forces on Saturday.

In a separate incident, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 50-year-old ambulance driver was killed by Israeli gunfire near the village of Al Sawiya, south of the city of Nablus, as he was making his way to transport people injured during an attack on the village.

On the Nur Shams raid, Wafa said soldiers had “raided dozens of homes, deploying attack dogs, searching, vandalising, and arresting youths, assaulting them with beatings and abuse, and deploying snipers on the rooftops of tall buildings. They also bombed a number of homes with shoulder-launched missiles”.

Since Hamas raided southern Israel on October 7 which killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, Israel has bombarded and invaded Hamas-controlled Gaza, killing more than 34,000 people. The West Bank has also seen a rise in violence since the war erupted, with about 500 Palestinians killed in Israel raids, checkpoint shootings and settler violence.

Updated: April 21, 2024, 7:27 AM