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Palestinians flee Israel's raid on West Bank refugee camp as several hurt in Tel Aviv car attack

Israel continues raid on West Bank
Israel continues largest West Bank incursion in nearly 20 years 01:55

Thousands of Palestinian residents fled the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday as Palestinian health officials said the death toll from Israel's largest raid on the camp in nearly two decades had risen to at least 13, according to the Associated Press. 

One Israeli soldier was also killed by gunfire in Jenin, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson reported early Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, at least eight people were injured in a car-ramming attack on a crowded bus stop in the city of Tel Aviv, which the militant group Hamas claimed was a response to the ongoing Jenin raid.

Israeli security officials told the AP that the Israeli military had begun withdrawing troops from Jenin late Tuesday night. 

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired five rockets toward Israel a few hours after the withdrawal had begun, Israeli military officials told Reuters. All five were intercepted.

The Israeli army said the two-day Israeli operation inside the Jenin camp, which sits inside the West Bank city of the same name, involved seizing weapons and destroying command posts and tunnels belonging to Palestinian militant groups. Streets were torn up inside the camp, and gunfire and explosions were heard sporadically throughout the day as Israeli troops and Palestinian militants clashed, though the fighting was reportedly less intense than on Monday.

Israel continues blockade and attacks on Jenin
Israeli forces intervene with Palestinians gathered to protest an ongoing Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp on July 4, 2023 in Jenin, West Bank. Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Jenin Mayor Nidal Al-Obeidi said around 4,000 people had fled the refugee camp to seek shelter elsewhere, and Palestinians across the West Bank observed a general strike to protest the raid, according to the AP. 

"We are alarmed at the scale of air and ground operations that are taking place in Jenin and continuing today in the West Bank, and especially on air strikes hitting the densely populated refugee camp," said Vanessa Huguenin, a spokesperson for the U.N. humanitarian office. She said she'd heard reports that three children were among the dead. Palestinian officials said those killed were between 16 and 23-years-old, CBS News partner network BBC News reported.

The charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said roads in the Jenin camp had been blocked or destroyed, and that paramedics were being forced to travel on foot amid gunfire and drone strikes to reach the wounded.

Israel launches military operation in West Bank, Palestinian officials say at least 8 killed 03:26

"The use of attack helicopters and drone strikes in such a densely populated area represents a marked increase in intensity and is nothing short of outrageous," Jovana Arsenijevic, a coordinator for MSF in Jenin, said in a statement. "The hospital where we are treating patients was struck by tear gas canisters. Medical structures, ambulances and patients must be respected."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israeli forces were "completing the mission" but that "our extensive activity in Jenin is not a one time operation," the AFP news agency reported.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 20-year-old attacker rammed his car into a bus stop full of people in Tel Aviv, Israel's second-most populous city, before emerging and trying to stab people with a knife. The attacker was shot and killed at the scene by an armed civilian, police said.

Members of Israeli security and emergency personnel work at the site of a car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, July 4, 2023. Getty

"In the first seconds you think it could have been a mistake by the driver," a witness told BBC News. "He exited through the window, not the door — like in a movie — with a knife in hand and started chasing civilians. Now you understand it's an attack. We ran for our lives."

The militant group Hamas identified the attacker behind what it lauded as a "heroic operation," and "legitimate self-defense" against the Israeli operation in Jenin.

Israel's far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited the scene of the attack in Tel Aviv and called for more Israeli citizens to take up arms, BBC News reported.

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