Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, wound over 10 in West Bank raid, Palestinians say

By Ali Sawafta and Raneen Sawafta

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) -Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and wounded at least 13 others in a raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry and medics said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it was treating at least six people who were shot, four who sustained shrapnel wounds and one person who was run over by a military jeep. It said its teams were fired at while recovering some of the dead.

The Israeli military said in a statement that its forces exchanged fire with militants during an operation in Jenin. It said the forces killed some militants and wounded others, including those who hurled explosives, without specifying how many.

A military helicopter struck the area, the military added, and one suspect was arrested.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the end of a security assessment on the West Bank on Thursday, said that while Israel was facing "complicated international pressure" it was determined to change the security reality in the area.

"Israel is engaged in a difficult battle on many fronts. We are fighting in the south, we are fighting in the north, we are also fighting in Judea and Samaria," he said, using the biblical name for the West Bank.

The West Bank is among territories Israel seized in a 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians want it to be the core of their future independent state and say the expansion of Israeli settlements in the area are an obstacle to achieving that goal.

Since the start of the Gaza war last October, the West Bank, where Palestinians living under Israeli military rule exercise limited self governance, has turned into a secondary front.

But violence there was already surging, with the United Nations reporting a record-high number of Palestinians killed in 2023 amid increased military raids and settler attacks.

According to the U.N., more than 500 Palestinians and 12 Israelis have been killed in the West Bank since Oct. 7.

A video shared on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, seemed to show a helicopter firing at Jenin's refugee camp, a densely populated urban area.

Residents of both the camp and the city reported hearing gunshots.

Jenin camp has been a focal point of raids by the Israeli military, which says it carries out such operations to arrest suspects and prevent attacks on Israelis. In a raid in May, the military conducted an air strike on the camp, a rarity in the West Bank.

Some Palestinian groups say they engage in armed struggle to resist Israel's decades-long military occupation.

According to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, some 23,600 residents of the camp were registered as refugees - people who were expelled or fled their homes during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation, or their descendants.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Raneen Sawafta; Additional reporting and writing by Henriette Chacar; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Josie Kao)