Israel military says Palestinian militants fired rockets

Jerusalem –

The Israeli army said Palestinian militants were moving from the Gaza Strip toward the south of the country hours after an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank sparked a fierce firefight that killed 10 Palestinians. announced that it had fired a rocket.

The rocket attack, which was not immediately claimed by Palestinian militant groups, appears to have been sparked by Wednesday morning’s raid in Nablus.

The military said five rockets fired at the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot were intercepted by air defenses and one missile landed in a field. There were no reports of damage or casualties.

This is breaking news. Here’s AP’s previous story:

Israeli forces stormed a major Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, carrying out a rare daytime arrest raid that sparked a fierce firefight that killed at least 10 Palestinians and many others. injured.

It was one of the bloodiest in nearly a year of fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, raising the prospect of further bloodshed. Israeli police said they were on high alert, but the Hamas militant group in Gaza said its patience had “run out”. Another extremist group, Islamic Jihad, has vowed revenge.

Health officials said the dead included two Palestinian men, aged 72 and 61, and a 16-year-old boy.

The four-hour operation left extensive damage to a centuries-old marketplace in the militant stronghold of Nablus.

In one moving scene, an overwhelmed doctor pronounces a man dead, only to discover that the dead patient is his father. Elsewhere, amateur video showed two apparently unarmed men being shot while running down the street.

Israel has carried out stepped-up arrest raids of wanted militants in the West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel last spring.

Israeli officials have likened the work to “mowing the lawn” and say it is necessary to prevent a difficult situation from escalating. But house searches have shown few signs of slowing violence, and in cases like Wednesday’s operation, may increase the likelihood of retaliation.

Israeli forces said they had entered the West Bank commercial center of Nablus to arrest three militants suspected of previous shootings. The main suspect was wanted in the murder of an Israeli soldier last fall.

The military typically conducts raids at night in what it says is a tactic intended to reduce the risk of civilian casualties. He said the army moved quickly after chasing them.

Hecht said Israeli forces surrounded the building and asked the soldiers to surrender, but instead opened fire. One militant was shot dead as he tried to flee the building. He said the military then fired missiles at the house, causing the building to collapse and killing two of his other men.

At the same time, he said, the troops who set the outer perimeter set off a fierce firefight that sparked heavy gunfire. A crowd of young people released a video taken from inside an armored car that threw stones.There were no Israeli casualties.

The influx of casualties overwhelmed the city’s Nadja hospital, said Ahmad Aswad, chief nurse in the cardiology department.

A 36-year-old doctor told the Associated Press that he saw many patients shot in the chest, head and thighs. “They shot to kill,” he said.

The moment he said it would haunt him, he and a colleague carefully removed the bullet from the 61-year-old man’s heart. saw. It was his colleague’s father, Abdelaziz Ashqar, who is 61 years old.

His colleague Elias Ashkar was overwhelmed and fell silent. “It didn’t feel like we were in reality,” he says.

In the old town of Nablus, people stare at the rubble of what used to be the great house of the marketplace centuries ago. The store was riddled with bullets from end to end. A parked car was crushed. Blood stained the cement ruins. Furniture from destroyed homes was scattered in a pile of rubble.

Time-stamped security footage shared widely online appeared to show two young men running down the street. A gunshot is heard and both fall to the ground, one’s hat flying off his head.

The two men did not appear to be armed, but the video did not show the events leading up to the shooting.

Hecht called the video “controversial” and said the military was investigating.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has declared 10 dead, including Ashqar and a 72-year-old man. Various Palestinian militant groups claimed as members six of the dead, including three who were targeted in the attack. I did. Authorities later said a 66-year-old man died from inhaling tear gas.

As bodies on stretchers were paraded through the crowd, thousands of people packed the streets, voicing their support for the extremists. Masked men fired into the air.

Israeli police said they were tightening security in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in preparation for violence.

Last month, Israeli forces carried out a similar raid in the northern West Bank, killing 10 people. Palestinian militants responded by firing rockets from Gaza. The next day, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on one of him near a synagogue in a settlement in East Jerusalem, killing seven.

Days later, five Palestinian militants were killed in an Israeli arrest raid elsewhere in the West Bank. Following this, a Palestinian was hit by a car, killing his three Israelis, including his two younger brothers, in Jerusalem.

The fighting comes at a delicate time, less than two months into the new hardline government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The government is dominated by ultranationalists who have vowed to push for tougher action against Palestinian militants and to entrench Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank. As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, it cited top security officials who have expressed concern that this could lead to more violence.

The Cabinet includes the leaders of many West Bank settlers. In a move that could further escalate tensions, the Settlements Council’s Yesha announced that Israeli planning officials have approved about 2,000 new homes in settlements across the West Bank. There was no immediate confirmation from the government, but an announcement was expected on Thursday.

Palestinians and much of the international community say settlements built in occupied territories are illegal and an obstacle to peace. More than 700,000 settlers now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians as their future state.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States is aware of Israel’s “very real” security concerns, but is also “deeply concerned” about casualties from the attack. Stated.

He urged both sides to avoid measures that could “fuel tensions”, including the possible approval of new settlements.

Israel’s decision follows a United Nations presidential statement that strongly criticized the settlements. The United States has blocked a stronger, legally binding Council resolution.

American diplomats claimed to have elicited Israeli pledges to stop unilateral action to block the resolution. Israel’s approval of new settlements appears to undermine its claims.

Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, called on the international community to “put an end to these massacres against our people.”

In the Gaza Strip, Abu Obeida, spokesman for the ruling Hamas militant group, warned that Hamas’ “patience is running out”.

Late Wednesday, Palestinian activists burned tires along the Gaza border in a protest alongside Israel.

Hamas has fought Israel in four wars since seizing control of Gaza in 2007.

Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al-Nahra called the Israeli raid a “colossal crime”.

“It is our duty as resistance forces to respond to this crime without hesitation,” he said.

Nearly 60 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, according to an Associated Press tally.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in these areas last year, the deadliest year since 2004, according to figures from the Israeli rights group Betzelem. About 30 Israelis were killed in the Palestinian attack.

Tufaha reported from Nablus. Isabel DeBre of Jerusalem and Matthew Lee of Washington contributed to the report.

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