New York: Israel struck targets in a militant stronghold in the occupied West Bank with drones early this week and deployed hundreds of troops in the area, in an incursion that resembled the wide-scale military operations carried out during the second Palestinian uprising two decades ago.
Health officials said at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded. It came at a time of growing domestic pressure for a tough response to a series of attacks on Israeli settlers, including a shooting attack last month that killed four Israelis.
Black smoke rose from the crowded streets of the camp, exchanges of fire rang out and the buzzing of drones could be heard overhead as the military pressed on.
Residents said power was cut off in some parts and military bulldozers plowed through narrow streets, damaging buildings as they cleared the way for Israeli forces. The Palestinians and neighboring Jordan and Egypt and the 57-nation OIC condemned the violence.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the operation was “proceeding as planned”, but gave no indication when the incursion would end.
The large-scale raid comes amid a more than yearlong spike in violence that has created a challenge for Netanyahu’s far-right government, which is dominated by ultranationalists who have called for tougher action against Palestinian militants only to see the fighting worsen.
Over 140 Palestinians have been killed this year in the West Bank, and Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis have killed at least 25 people, including a shooting last month that killed four settlers.