Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians on Jan. 26, the deadliest day in the occupied West Bank since Israel stepped up its attacks early last year.
Nine Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Another Palestinian man, 22, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the town of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem.
At least 20 other people were wounded with live ammunition during the attack on Jenin, which Palestinians have dubbed a “massacre”. Four of them were seriously injured.
According to Palestinian officials, an elderly woman was among the dead. Authorities at Jenin Hospital identified the deceased as Magda Obaid.
Israeli troops withdrew from Jenin after the killing and said they were investigating reports of the woman’s death.
Meanwhile, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed militia affiliated with the Palestinian political party Fatah, said one of its fighters, Izzedine Salahat, was among the dead.
Another person, Saif al-Azrich, 24, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital, according to health authorities.
The health department said the situation on the ground was very difficult, with injured people being rushed to hospitals, and accused the Israeli army of obstructing ambulances and medical personnel.
“This is an unprecedented invasion in terms of the scale of the attack and the number of injured,” Wissam Becker, director of the Jenin Public Hospital, told Al Jazeera.
“The ambulance driver tried to approach a dead man on the ground, but Israeli forces fired directly at the ambulance and prevented them from approaching him,” Becker said.
Israeli troops also fired tear gas at the hospital and affected the pediatrics unit, Becker said. He added that this resulted in suffocation and injuries to children and others.
The Israeli military has denied deliberately firing tear gas at the hospital. “No one deliberately fired tear gas at the hospital,” an army spokesman said, “but the location of the operation is not far from the hospital, and some gas may have entered through the open windows.”
Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudina announced that the Palestinian Authority will cease security coordination with Israel following the killings in the West Bank.
“At this point in time, such coordination will no longer be enforced,” he told a news conference in Ramallah, adding that the move was in response to Israel’s repeated violations against Palestinians and in violation of international law.
“We pay tribute to those who stand firm in the defense of our homeland,” the spokesman said.
He also called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the killings that occurred on the 26th.
Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced a three-day period of mourning during which flags were flown at half-mast, according to Palestinian state television.
Prime Minister Eshtaye seeks UN intervention
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad al-Eshtayyeh issued a statement calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to “intervene urgently to provide protection for the Palestinian people and stop the bloodshed against children, youth and women”.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry condemned the Israeli attack on Jenin and called on the international community to stop Israel’s escalating aggression, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Saleh al-Ruri, leader of the Hamas movement in the blockaded Gaza Strip, said “the resistance response will not be delayed”.
Al Jazeera’s Umna Saeed reported from Gaza that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, declared a day of mourning and declared a state of alert.
“They called on the international community to hold the ‘occupation criminals’ accountable for their crimes and finally called on the people of Gaza to take to the streets to express their outrage at the massacre in Jenin,” Saeed said.
The Israeli military justified the operation, saying special forces were sent to Jenin to detain Islamic jihadists suspected of planning and carrying out “multiple major terrorist attacks”.
The Israeli army launched a massive attack and surrounded the refugee camp in the early hours of the morning with plainclothes troops, dozens of armored vehicles and snipers. Soon, armed clashes broke out between them and Palestinian resistance fighters.
The military added that several Palestinian militants were shot after opening fire.
“During the operation, security forces surrounded the building where the suspects were. Two armed suspects fled the scene and were subdued by security forces,” Israeli officials said in a statement.
There were no reports of injuries to Israeli forces.
U.S. State Department spokesman Patel responded to Israel’s claims on the 26th and called the attack a “counter-terrorism operation.”
“We acknowledge that Israel and the Palestinian Authority face very real security challenges and condemn terrorist groups for planning and carrying out attacks against innocent civilians,” Patel told reporters.
“We also deplore the death and injury of innocent civilians and express our deep concern at the escalating cycle of violence in the West Bank.”
Jenin, a region in the northern West Bank, has seen Israel intensify its attacks over the past year in an effort to crush growing Palestinian armed resistance.
Arif Sabag, a political analyst who specializes in Israeli affairs, said that the actions that took place in Jenin on the 26th “should be understood as a signal – the first shot of Israel’s larger-scale operations in the future.”
“If there is a lack of response to what Israel is doing, whether it is the Arab countries or the international community, it will encourage it to continue to attack and kill,” Sabag told Al Jazeera.
“Targeting ambulances and hospitals, preventing access to the wounded, carrying out field executions, and even killing journalist Shireen Abu Aghlai are crimes that have not been held accountable,” he said. If there is a strong response, Israel will continue to do as it pleases with impunity.”
Veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aghlai had covered the Occupied Palestinian Territory for more than 25 years, but last May she was shot dead while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp.
No one has yet been held accountable for her death.
Marwan Bishara, a senior political analyst at Al Jazeera, said, “In the international arena, fighting ‘terrorism’ is a very magical term. It can justify any action, even if it is completely wrong.”
The analyst noted that while Israel used security as an excuse to justify its actions, Palestinians saw it as “an ironic tactic aimed at humiliating the Palestinian Authority”.
The attack took place in so-called “Area A” – areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority and the police under the terms of the Oslo Accords.
“These young people in the refugee camps, they just want to protect themselves, they don’t shoot Israelis on Israeli soil.”
At least 29 Palestinians, including five children, were killed in Israeli army raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January. Among the dead, at least 15 were from Jenin.
In 2022, more than 170 Palestinians, including a large number of civilians, have been killed in such attacks.