Jerusalem, Dec 12 (EFE).- An Israeli drone attack on the occupied West Bank killed at least six people on Tuesday in the volatile Jenin city, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The fatalities raised this year’s West Bank toll to 490, the deadliest since 2002 at the peak of violence of the Second Intifada.
The Palestinian health ministry said one of the dead in the Israeli raids a al-Sibat neighborhood and other areas in Jenin, was a minor.
The ministry said one of the victims died after Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from transporting him to a hospital for half an hour.
Ahmed Samar, 13, died after the Israeli military stopped people from taking him to a hospital.
The army said it launched a military operation in Jenin after identifying a “terrorist cell that was throwing explosive devices and shooting at the forces.”
The Israeli Air Force killed several terrorists, a military spokesperson said, adding they detained “dozens of suspects.”
“Army engineering vehicles identified explosive devices placed under the roads to attack security forces. The forces located weapons, ammunition, and explosive devices,” the spokesperson said about the operation in Jenin, one of the violence hubs in the West Bank.
The incursions by Israeli forces and clashes with Palestinians in towns in the West Bank or neighborhoods of East Jerusalem have been a daily occurrence in 2023.
The year has been marked by the deadliest violence in the region in two decades, further escalated since the Islamist Hamas movement, which effectively governs the Gaza Strip, launched a massive attack on Israel by land and air on Oct 7, triggering a war that has resulted in over 18,500 deaths.
More than 280 Palestinians, including over 70 minors, have died in clashes with Israeli forces. At least nine have died at the hands of settlers.
Israeli drone attacks in the West Bank have also increased in recent months, both in Jenin and in other West Bank cities.
In July, the Army used drones for a military offensive by land and air against the Jenin refugee camp, killing 12 Palestinians.
Jenin has been the hub of Palestinian armed resistance in the northern West Bank.
A militant group, called the Jenin Battalion, formed in 2022 has largely been the target of the Israeli attacks.
Since the beginning of 2023, some 489 Palestinians have died in the West Bank, most of them militants in armed clashes with Israeli troops and attackers.
The dead also include civilians, including more 100 minors.
Simultaneously, the area has seen the proliferation of new Palestinian armed groups, which increasingly carry out attacks, resulting in 41 deaths on the Israeli side, most of them settlers, five of them minors, and seven soldiers.
Palestinians who have been arrested more than 3,500 since the Gaza war began, according to Palestinian groups, while Israeli forces say they have arrested more than 2,000, more than half suspected of links to Hamas.
Israel took control of the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Day War and has maintained a long-standing occupation and colonization of the territory since. EFE