“This is a number of casualties that you don’t see every day, we’re preparing for various escalation scenarios.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in response to a Ynet request for comment that the premier is “receiving regular updates on the unfolding security events and will carry out a security situation assessment soon.”
Meanwhile, Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced that they would hold an emergency meeting in the Gaza Strip following the fighting in Jenin.
According to Al Jazeera, Islamic Jihad informed international mediators that “if the aggression against Jenin does not stop, the situation is expected to escalate and all options are on the table.”
In the meantime, no outstanding instructions have been relayed to authorities or security personnel in southern Israeli communities near Gaza.
According to the IDF, the operation was launched to “apprehend a terror squad belonging to the Islamic Jihad terror organization”, acting on intelligence provided by the Shin Bet security agency. The army said it “thwarted a major attack.”
Eight of the Palestinian casualties were reportedly armed militants, most of whom were Islamic Jihad operatives. The Palestinians reported that an elderly woman was also killed in the fierce shootout between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli troops.
The IDF said it “was aware of reports of a Palestinian civilian being hit” and that “the circumstances of the event are under review.”
At least 20 others were wounded in the fighting, at least four of them sustaining serious injuries.
During the raid on a home in Jenin where the terrorists were hiding, Israeli troops employed a so-called “pressure cooker” tactic on the building and fired a missile at it.
Protests in Gaza against Israeli counterterrorism operation in Jenin
Such an extensive operation in broad daylight is unusual and suggests the attack was due shortly.
The raid began with IDF soldiers entering Jenin to arrest three wanted Islamic Jihad operatives, who had already carried out shooting attacks against Israeli forces.
During the arrest attempt, the terrorists opened fire on the fighters, who recognized them as armed, returned fire and killed them. Two of them tried to escape and were shot and another surrendered himself to the security forces.
IDF combat engineering soldiers entered the building in order to detonate two explosive devices used by the suspects, where there was an additional armed suspect who was killed by the soldiers at the scene.
Following the events, general strikes were announced in Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah and classes were suspended in some places.
A spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “Israel is committing a massacre in the Jenin camp while the world remains silent.”
The Palestinian foreign ministry appealed to the United States and the international community: “If you don’t act now in the face of the brutal carnage in the Jenin camp, when will you?”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also called on the international community to get involved.
“We call on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to urgently intervene to provide protection to our people and stop the bloodshed that children, young people and women are experiencing,” he said.
Two of the men were identified by the Palestinian health ministry as Essam Mahmoud Azriqi (24), and Salahat ‘Iz a-Din, who is considered one of the most prominent militants in Jenin.