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CIA chief visits occupied territories amid deadly Jenin raid

CIA director William Burns testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 10, 2022. (File photo)

CIA director William Burns has arrived in Tel Aviv to visit occupied territories and the West Bank, where he is expected to meet Israeli and Palestinian officials, two informed American sources have said.

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said on Friday that Burns arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday and met with senior Israeli officials, including Mossad chief David Barnea.

Burns’ visit comes in the wake of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday and Tuesday, and ahead of Washington Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit.

According to media reports, Burns may also visit the occupied territories of Palestine amid the escalating tensions exacerbated by the recent events in Gaza.

The US officials’ visits come as tensions are simmering across the occupied territories and as the Israeli regime intensifies its atrocities against Palestinians.

Nine Palestinians lost their lives following a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the West Bank. At least 20 Palestinians were wounded, including unarmed civilians.

Not long after the raid, the Palestinian Authority suspended its security coordination with Israel, raising concerns the situation in the West Bank could escalate even further.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf on Thursday criticized the Palestinian Authority’s decision to end security coordination with Israel.

In Jenin, more than 70 Israeli armed vehicles and hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed the flashpoint city and the neighboring refugee camp, leaving the residents and popular resistance groups with no choice but to defend themselves and confront the occupation forces.

The Gaza-based Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movements have vowed to respond to Thursday’s army raid. The Palestinian resistance groups maintain that they have a legitimate right to defend themselves in the face of Israeli aggressions that have been ongoing for decades, with major escalations taking place since the far-right extremist regime headed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in December.

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