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Israel launches air strikes on Gaza as troops withdraw from Jenin

The raid, Israel’s biggest military operation in years in the West Bank, employed hundreds of troops as well as drone strikes and army bulldozers that ripped up streets.

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Israel launches air strikes on Gaza as troops withdraw from Jenin

Gaza Strip: Israel carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to rocket fire from the coastal enclave, as the military began withdrawing forces from Jenin in the occupied West Bank after a major two-day operation in the area. Twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed during the assault on a Jenin refugee camp, launched early on Monday under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government.

The raid, Israel’s biggest military operation in years in the West Bank, employed hundreds of troops as well as drone strikes and army bulldozers that ripped up streets.

Elsewhere, a car ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on Tuesday wounded seven people before the suspect was shot dead.

 The large-scale Israeli army assault on Jenin camp had so far killed 12 Palestinians, the Palestinian health ministry said. During the operation, an Israeli soldier was also killed by “live fire” late on Tuesday, the army announced. Early on Wednesday, the army said it carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip after it intercepted five rockets fired at Israeli territory.

A Palestinian security source said the attack hit a military site of the militant group Hamas in northern Gaza but caused no injuries. Late on Tuesday, an Israeli army spokesman said troops “have started withdrawing from Jenin camp”.

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During the raid, the army said it had uncovered militant hideouts, arms depots and an underground shaft used to store explosives. “In the last five years, this is the worst raid,” said Qasem Benighader, a nurse at a hospital morgue.

The army said its forces had dismantled six explosives manufacturing facilities and three operational situation rooms in Jenin, and confiscated large quantities of weapons.

“The weapons were located in hideouts, a mosque, pits concealed in civilian areas, operational situation rooms, and in vehicles,” it said.

 “The reports are not currently known to security forces,” it said, adding that “terrorist organisations have exploited civilian areas as a hideout”. Shops in Jenin were shuttered amid a general strike and the near-empty streets littered with debris and burned roadblocks.

Imad Jabarin, one of those leaving the rubble-strewn camp, said: “All aspects of life have been destroyed, there is no electricity and no communications … we are cut off from the world to some extent.”

The northern West Bank has seen a recent spate of attacks on Israelis as well as Jewish settler violence targeting Palestinians.

The Israel-Palestinian conflict has worsened since early last year, and escalated further under the Netanyahu government, which includes extreme-right allies.

NEWS

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