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14 Palestinians killed in ongoing Israeli operation in the West Bank

Ramallah: At least fourteen Palestinians have been killed for the third day in a row during an ongoing Israeli military operation in the town of Tulkarm and the refugee camp in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement to Xinhua news agency on Saturday that the bodies of the 14 slain Palestinians had been transferred to Tulkarm Hospital from the Nour Shams Palestinian refugee camp east of the city.

The statement provided no further details, Xinhua news agency reported.

Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces, accompanied by military bulldozers, entered the camp on Thursday, imposing a strict siege and destroying main streets, infrastructure, residential homes and shops.

The sources noted that the ongoing military operation, which coincided with power outages, water cuts and the disruption of communications and internet networks in the camp, was the most serious in years.

Sniper units were deployed on the roofs of tall buildings, while other troops detonated several houses with guided missiles.

Local sources and eyewitnesses reported clashes between the army and Palestinian gunmen, along with the sound of explosions caused by homemade explosives.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), announced in separate statements that their elements had become involved in heavy clashes with Israeli forces in the camp.

Israeli public radio reported that the army, the Shin Bet domestic security service and Israeli police killed a number of Palestinian militants during clashes during a large-scale military operation in the refugee camp.

The radio said among the dead were Mohammed Jaber, also known as Abu Shuja, the commander of the Islamic Jihad movement’s Tulkarm battalion, and another activist named Ahmed Al-Aarif.

The radio quoted a military spokesman as saying that during the ongoing operation, eight wanted persons were arrested, explosives and tunnels were seized, and workshops involved in the production of explosives in the camp were dismantled.

The West Bank has witnessed escalating tensions since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip on October 7 last year, marked by armed clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in towns, villages and camps.

Earlier on Saturday, a Palestinian ambulance driver was killed by Israeli gunfire in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israel has killed more than 460 Palestinians with airstrikes and gunfire in several parts of the West Bank and east of Jerusalem since the conflict broke out.