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Israel-Palestine: Army kills five in Jenin mosque bombing and West Bank raids

An Israeli air strike targets a mosque in Jenin refugee camp as the army ramps up attacks across Palestinian cities
A man checks the damage inside a building in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, following an Israeli air strike on 22 October 2023 (AFP)
A man checks the damage inside a building in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin after an Israeli air strike on 22 October 2023 (AFP)

The Israeli military killed five Palestinians in aerial and ground attacks across the occupied West Bank in the early hours of Sunday. 

A reported Israeli fighter jet struck a mosque in Jenin around 3am local time, killing two people inside, the Palestinian ministry of health said.

Another three people were killed by Israeli troops during military raids in Tubas, Nablus and Qabatiya town south of Jenin. 

At least 90 Palestinians, including 30 children, have been killed by Israeli troops and settlers in 16 days since the flare-up with Gaza started earlier this month. 

The West Bank death toll is a large spike compared to previous years. An average of around 20 were killed per month in the Palestinian territory before October this year, which was already seeing the highest death toll in two decades.

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Since 7 October, Israel has placed the West Bank under lockdown, closing checkpoints, fortifying the entrances to towns and villages, and imposing strict restrictions on travel in and out of the border with Jordan.

The army has also stepped up raid-and-arrest attacks in Palestinian towns and villages while settler violence has risen by more than 40 percent.

On Thursday, the military killed 13 Palestinians, including five children, in the Nour Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm during a 24-hour raid that left wide-scale destruction in its wake. 

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The air strike on Jenin refugee camp, a densely populated area, marks a major escalation by the Israeli military. Aerial attacks are not commonly used in the West Bank.

The Israeli military said they targeted an "underground tunnel" at the mosque. Middle East Eye could not independently verify the claim. 

The military added that it used an "aircraft" without providing further details. According to Haaretz, a fighter jet carried out the air strike in a first in the West Bank since the Second Intifada between 2000-2005. 

Shortly after the mosque was bombed, Israeli intelligence officers called many families of Palestinian fighters from Jenin who are on Israel's list of wanted people. 

During the calls, some of which were heard by MEE, the Israeli officer threatened to assassinate the "wanted people" if their families didn't tell them to surrender themselves to the Israeli military before 7:00 am on Monday.
“If you want your son to live, tell him to surrender himself,” the officer is heard saying in on one call to the father of one the Palestinian fighters. 

In July, the Israeli military carried out a large-scale assault in Jenin that lasted for 48 hours and included the use of drone attacks and ground troops. At least 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed.

The escalation in the West Bank coincides with growing aerial attacks by Israel in Lebanon and Syria, while the air force has continued to pound Gaza round the clock for over two weeks. 

On 7 October, Palestinian fighters carried out a deadly surprise attack in southern Israel, killing at least 1,400 people. Israel has responded by relentlessly bombing Gaza, killing more than 4,385 people, 70 percent of whom are children, women and elderly people. 

Additional reporting by Fayha Shalash in Ramallah. 

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