Middle East

Israel bombs Gaza after IDF raid kills 11 Palestinians in West Bank

Militants launched rockets at southern Israel on Thursday, and Israeli aircraft struck targets in Gaza, in an escalation of the conflict after daytime raids by Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank killed 11 Palestinians.

The bloodshed extends one of the deadliest periods in years in the West Bank.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said they had struck several targets in northern and central Gaza, including a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound belonging to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Hours earlier, Israel said, six rockets were fired from Gaza, five of which were intercepted while one fell into an open area.

The heavy bombardment early on Thursday sent a pillar of black smoke rising over the north of Gaza City, and people in the Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon woke up to the sound of sirens triggered by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip.

The escalation came after a rare daytime raid by Israeli forces on the West Bank city of Nablus, which killed 11 people and injured 102, according to a death toll provided by the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA) citing the Palestinian health ministry.

The operation by Israeli forces was aimed at members of Hamas, according to the IDF and the Israel Security Agency, who said in a joint statement that the target had been those “planning attacks in the immediate future” and that three militants had been “neutralised”.

The raid ran to a four-hour operation that left a broad swathe of damage in a centuries-old marketplace in Nablus, a city known as a Hamas stronghold.

It was one of the bloodiest incidents in nearly a year in the West Bank, raising the likelihood of further bloodshed. Israeli forces were on high alert following the raids, as violence that takes place in the West Bank often triggers an immediate response from militants in Gaza.

Palestinians carry the bodies of 10 men killed in clashes with Israel troops in the West Bank city of Nablus


The Gaza-based Islamic Jihad militant group condemned the Israeli military’s raid in Nablus on Wednesday, calling it a “major crime” and one that “resistance must respond to”.

Spokesperson Abu Obeida issued a warning, saying that “the resistance in Gaza is observing the enemy’s escalating crimes against our people in the occupied West Bank” and that its “patience is running out”.

Among the dead in Nablus were elderly men aged 72, 66 and 61 as well as a 16-year-old boy, according to health officials. Among those wounded, some 82 were hit by live ammunition.

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus

(AFP via Getty)

In one emotional scene, an overwhelmed medic pronounced a person dead only to notice that the lifeless patient was his father. His colleague, who helped him to extract a bullet from the 61-year-old man’s heart, said they realised his identity after removing the bullet and seeing his face. He said the moment will haunt him for ever.

Palestinian territories observed a general strike on Thursday in protest against the raid, and bodies were paraded through crowds on stretchers. Thousands packed the streets, chanting in support of Hamas.

In the Old City in Nablus, images showed shops riddled with bullets, damage to parked cars, and bloodstains on the cement ruins. A large home was turned to rubble, and the furniture from it scattered among mounds of debris.

It comes less than two months after the new hardline government of Israel’s far-right prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu came into power. Mr Netanyahu promised to take a tough line against Palestinians, and to ramp up settlement construction on lands Palestinians seek for their future state.

About 60 Palestinians are reported to have been killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.