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Israeli forces invade West Bank city, killing at least 8 Palestinians

West Bank residents reported gunfire, drones and explosions as Israel launched extensive air and ground attacks on occupied Jenin early July 3. (Video: Reuters)

Steve Hendrix and Niha Masih, The Washington Post, July 3, 2023

JERUSALEM — About 1,000 Israeli soldiers backed by drone strikes stormed Jenin on Monday, targeting a militant “operational command center” in the most expansive Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank in two decades.

The assaults marked the start of an “extensive counterterrorism effort” centered on the densely populated Jenin refugee camp, according to Israeli officials, and were ongoing as of Monday afternoon local time. At least eight people were killed and 80 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, with 17 in critical condition. The Israel Defense Forces said the operation would continue indefinitely.

“We’ll do it as long as it is needed; there is no timeline on this right now,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an IDF spokesman, told reporters. Another Palestinian was shot and killed by soldiers near the city of Ramallah while protesting the Jenin attack.

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Gunfire, drones and explosions were reported by Jenin residents and in videos posted on social media. Residents reported receiving text messages from Israeli numbers that warned them to stay inside for their protection. Separate messages directed at militants advised them to “surrender yourself for your safety and the safety of those around you.”