Israeli drone strikes kill 9 Palestinians in West Bank

WEST BANK (Agencies): As many as nine residents have embraced martyrdom as the Israeli army Monday conducted drone strikes in the West Bank’s Jenin, injuring around 50 people with several in critical condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The operation was conducted two weeks after a brutal Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp claimed the lives of several people. The Israeli army said its forces had struck a “joint operations center” that served as a command post for the “Jenin Brigade,” a local militant group.
The West Bank is controlled partially in the West Bank, including the Jenin area by the Palestinian Authority. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who took power in December with his ultra-nationalist allies, the violence by Israelis has increased the suffering of the Palestinians. The United Nations expressed concern over the escalating violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, calling for calm and restraint from all parties.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of life and injuries in the recent violence and called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.” The recent violence has raised concerns that the situation could escalate and lead to full-scale violence.
The international community has called for an end to the violence and for both sides to return to the negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution to the longstanding conflict. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing since the Six-Day War of 1967, with Israel occupying the West Bank, home to around 490,000 Israelis living in settlements considered illegal under international law.
The Palestinians, who desire their own independent state, demand Israel withdraw from all land occupied in the Six-Day War and dismantle all Jewish settlements. However, Netanyahu has pledged to “strengthen settlements” and has shown no interest in reviving peace talks, which have been inactive since 2014. In another incident, a Palestinian youth was martyred by Israeli fire near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The ongoing violence has claimed a number of lives including Palestinian civilians. As daylight broke on Monday, thick black smoke from burning tyres set alight by residents swirled through the streets while calls to support the fighters rang out from loudspeakers in mosques. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed at least three people had been killed in Jenin, while another man was killed in the city of Ramallah after being shot in the head at a checkpoint. The Israeli military said the target functioned as an “advanced observation and reconnaissance centre” and a weapons and explosives site as well as a coordination and communications hub for the militant fighters.
It provided an aerial photograph showing what it said was the target and which indicated the building hit was near two schools and a medical centre. Only days before last month’s drone strike, the army used helicopter gunships to help extract troops and vehicles from a raid on the city, after fighters used explosives against a force sent in to arrest two militant suspects. The escalating violence in the West Bank over the past 15 months has caused mounting international alarm, with regular army raids in cities like Jenin, a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and rampages by Jewish settler mobs against Palestinian villages. Israel captured the West Bank, which the Palestinians see as the core of a future independent state, along with East Jerusalem and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle Eastern war. Following decades of conflict, peace talks that had been brokered by the United States have been frozen since 2014.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday condemned an Israeli military operation in the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire early on Monday, including eight in Jenin, according to the health ministry. At least 50 Palestinians were also injured.
“This heinous crime constitutes an extension of crimes and organised state terrorism practiced by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people,” the OIC said in a statement.
The Jeddah-based grouping held Israel responsible for “the repercussions of this heinous crime that calls for investigation and accountability.” The OIC called on the UN Security Council to “take responsibility, enforce its relevant resolutions, put an end to this continuous Israeli terrorism, and provide protection for the Palestinian people.”