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West Bank: 13 Palestinians wounded in Israeli army raid on Jericho camp

Armed clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians ensue during arrest campaign
Israeli soldiers crack down on Palestinians protesting against the establishment of Israeli outposts, in Beit Dajan, east of Nablus, on 4 November 2022 (AFP)

At least 13 Palestinians were wounded on Saturday during an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in Jericho, east of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army stormed the Aqbat refugee camp and surrounded a house during an early morning arrest raid, resulting in a gunfire exchange between soldiers and residents, according to Palestinian state news agency Wafa.

Israeli media, meanwhile, said that the army had fired an anti-tank guided missile at the camp.

Last week, Governor Jihad Abu al-Assal accused Israel of placing Jericho under "siege" after a Palestinian opened fire towards a restaurant at a junction near the city. No injuries were reported from the incident.

The Palestinian health ministry said that Israeli forces had impeded medical teams from reaching the area during Saturday's raid, before the wounded were taken to hospital. Three of the wounded are said to be in serious condition.

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The Palestinian Prisoners' Club said that the army had detained nine Palestinians, after raiding and searching their homes.

Israeli forces also partially demolished three houses and destroyed a poultry farm in the camp.

Wafa reported that Jericho has been surrounded since last Saturday, when the Israeli army erected barriers and cement blocks at the city's entrance.

Spike in violence

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces on Friday fatally shot Abdullah Sami Qalalweh, a 26-year-old Palestinian, near the town of Huwwara, south of Nablus.

The Israeli military claimed that Qalalweh had approached a military outpost near an army base in the Huwwara area, and refused orders to stop. Troops fired shots into the air before a soldier shot and killed him. 

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The army confirmed to AFP that Qalalweh was unarmed.

Qalaweh's death brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers this year to 36, 35 of whom were killed in January - the deadliest month in the West Bank since 2015.

More than half of those killed were in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, which, along with Nablus, has been the focus of near-nightly search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces since last year. 

Violence has spiked in recent days following an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp last week in which 10 Palestinians were killed. 

A day after the Jenin raid, a Palestinian gunman killed seven people in a shooting attack on Saturday in an occupied East Jerusalem Jewish settlement.

The following weekend, Palestinians across the West Bank experienced a spike in settler attacks. On 29 January, Israeli settlers carried out 144 attacks against Palestinians and their properties in Nablus alone. 

According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada

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