As many as 13 Palestinians were killed during the raid
On Monday (July 3), Israel launched one of its most extensive operations in the West Bank of the last few decades.
For the second time since the end of the second intifada in 2005 – and the second time over the past two weeks – the Israeli forces carried out airstrikes before sending in ground troops to the West Bank – which Palestinians see as the heart of their future state.
The Defence Forces targeted the city of Jenin, which within the years has become a stronghold of a new generation of Palestinian militants at loggerheads with the ageing Palestinian leadership.
The Israeli military said the focus was to seize weapons and “break the safe haven mindset of the [refugee] camp”.
Following two days of intense deadly clashes, which saw the intervention of around 2,000 Israeli soldiers, on Wednesday, Tel Aviv confirmed it had withdrawn its troops.
After a second night of intense fight with Palestinian militants, witnesses reported seeing convoys of military vehicles leaving the Jenin refugee camp.
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Some 500 families fled the refugee camp on Monday
What has happened in Jenin?
In the early hours of Monday, the Israeli army targeted an apartment building in Jenin, which they said was being used by militants to plan attacks.
Hundreds of troops backed by armed drones then entered the city, which includes a densely populated refugee camp.
Israeli officials explained the goal of this “counter-terrorism operation” was to root out militants from the refugee camp.
Palestinians inside the camp engaged in intense gun battles with the soldiers.
The operation continued into daybreak and involved also the destruction of streets, a move which Israeli chief military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said was needed to find concealed explosive devices.
Israeli forces attacked Jenin both with troops on the ground and with airstrikes
Israeli forces announced on Wednesday the end of their raid
A number of Palestinians were arrested, while the Israeli army seized parts of a rocket launcher and a laboratory for manufacturing explosives.
On Monday night, the army allowed some 500 Palestinian families to leave the camp.
As the operation was ongoing, members of the Jenin Brigades – a unit made up of Palestinians from different militant groups including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – vowed to fight back.
The Brigades said: “We will fight the occupation forces until the last breath and bullet, and we work together and unified from all factions and military formations.”
The Israeli raid was branded a “new war crime against our defenceless people” by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Jenin is a city in the West Bank
The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, also said: “What’s going on is an attempt to erase the refugee camp completely and displace the residents.”
Clashes between the Israeli Army and Palestinian militants continued into the late hours of Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, violence spilt into the Israeli capital city, Tel Aviv, where a Palestinian man drove a truck into pedestrian before stabbing one of his victims.
Hamas described the attack, which injured a total of nine people – three of them seriously – a “natural response” to the operation in Jenin.
More than 140 Palestinians were left injured during the raid
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded to the attack saying: “Whoever thinks that such an attack will deter us from continuing our fight against terrorism is mistaken.”
The Jenin operation, he added, would not be a “one-time action”.
He continued: “We will continue as long as necessary to uproot terrorism. We will not allow Jenin to go back to being a city of refuge for terrorism”.
The scale of the air and ground operation, however, “alarmed” the humanitarian office of the United Nations, as shared by a spokeswoman on Tuesday.
At least 13 Palestinians were killed during the raid and more than 140 Palestinians were left injured the Palestinian health ministry said, 30 of them critically.
Israeli troops left Jenin on Wednesday
One Israeli soldier also died during the two-day raid.
Mr Hagari said no non-combatants had been killed during the operation. The health ministry said three children – two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy – were among the victims.
Two weeks prior to this raid, the Israeli Army had entered Jenin again, which prompted Palestinian gunmen to kill four Israelis.
This sparked demands from members of the Israeli government on the right wing of the political spectrum for a broader operation in the West Bank.
National security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for “a military operation to demolish buildings, eliminate terrorists, not one or two, but tens and hundreds, and if necessary even thousands”.