The Israeli military has said that five Palestinian terrorists were killed in a gunbattle in a camp in West Bank on Monday.
The gunbattle occured during an Israeli raid in West Bank which is part of ongoing Israeli near-daily raids. The Israelis have said the Monday's raid was part of an ongoing operation to nab suspects in a failed shooting attack last week.
The Israeli-Palestinian tensions are at its highest in over a decade. Casualties have mounted in Palestinian attacks in Israel and in Israeli raids in West Bank. On January 27, seven Israelis were killed in a shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem. Within 18 hours, another shooting in Jerusalem injured two. The Jerusalem attacks came a day after 10 Palestinains were killed in an Israeli raid in Jenin in West Bank.
The Palestinian Health Ministry did not immediately confirm the deaths claimed by Israeli military. The Palestinian authorities only said that three were injured, one of them critically.
What we know of the Israeli raid?
The Israeli military said it was operating to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack at a West Bank restaurant, where attackers allegedly were thwarted by a weapon malfunction. The attackers fled the scene after the failed attack.
The Israeli military said the two attackers who fled were members of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. They were among the five killed on Monday, according to the Israeli military.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli forces thwarted a Hamas cell in the Monday raid.
The Hamas is the largest Palestinian terrorist group which controls the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military says Hamas has elements in the West Bank as well.
"The group’s ideology blends Islamism and Palestinian nationalism and seeks the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River...Hamas’s preferred methods include suicide bombings, rocket and mortar attacks, shootings, and kidnappings," says think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP) about Hamas.
In Monday's operation, the Israeli military said it was searching for the terrorist cell that it said had sealed itself inside a home in the refugee camp. During the search, troops encountered the gunmen and a gun battle erupted. The military said several of the gunmen who were killed were involved in the attempted attack on the restaurant.
The rising Israeli-Palestinian violence
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B'Tselem.
Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Palestinian terrorists groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) frequently harass Israel with rockets. Israel often responds with airstrikes on suspected terrorist targets.
In November, twin blasts in Jerusalem killed one and injured 21.
(With AP inputs)