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Palestinians injured, detained as Israeli forces raid refugee camp in occupied West Bank

Israeli military vehicles are seen inside Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, located southwest of Ariha in the Jordan Valley, as the troops raided the area on February 4, 2023 following a week-long blockade. (Photo by Shehab news agency)

At least thirteen Palestinians have been injured after Israeli military forces stormed a refugee camp in the West Bank, amid fears that the situation across the occupied territories is going to implode in the near future.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Israeli troops broke into Aqbat Jabr camp, located southwest of Ariha in the Jordan Valley, on Saturday morning following a week-long siege.

The report, citing local sources, added that explosions and exchanges of gunfire were heard in the refugee camp later on.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers opened live fire at Palestinians in the camp, and fired tear gas canisters as well as stun grenades while calling on people at a section of the camp to come out of their homes.

The soldiers broke into a poultry farm, and destroyed it in total.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said three of those injured by the Israeli gunfire are in serious condition.

The ministry added that Israeli forces have obstructed entry of Palestinian medics and health personnel to reach their workplaces in Ariha.

Calls were heard in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp’s mosques to come out and defend the area.

Residents received text messages, urging locals to remain at home in order to avoid confrontations with Israeli forces.

According to local sources, three Palestinians were reportedly arrested – all members of the same family, including a father and his two sons, after Israeli troops surrounded a home in the area.

The same sources added that Israeli forces demolished parts of the walls of a besieged house, and ordered those inside to surrender.

The Israeli blockade on Ariha was imposed a week ago, following an alleged shooting attempt at an Israeli-run restaurant located outside the West Bank city. No one was hurt in the purported incident, but the Israeli military alleges the shooter escaped into Ariha.

The development comes less than a day after Israeli forces killed an unarmed Palestinian man in the West Bank.

Abdullah Sami Qalalweh, 26, was killed on Friday evening by “Israeli occupation bullets near the town of Huwara, south of Nablus”, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Israeli forces launch raids on various cities of the occupied West Bank almost on a daily basis under the pretext of detaining what it calls “wanted” Palestinians. The raids usually lead to violent confrontations with residents.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Israeli forces killed at least 171 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East al-Quds last year, including more than 30 children. At least 9,000 others were injured as well.

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