By Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau / Mondoweiss
Israeli army reportedly withdraws as Palestinian resistance claims victory; Israeli soldier killed during the fighting in Jenin
At around 12:50am local time early on Wednesday, July 5 (8:50 p.m. GMT, July 4), the Israeli army officially confirmed that an Israeli soldier, or “non-commissioned officer,” was killed during the fighting in Jenin, as the Israeli army reportedly began its withdrawal from Jenin refugee camp. The soldier was a member of the elite Egoz commando unit, or Unit 61, which specializes in guerilla warfare, and its members receive training in the Golani Brigade.
Early reports claiming that the army was withdrawing late on Tuesday night were initially met with skepticism, as various social media channels spread around warnings not to believe the news of a withdrawal, in case it was a ploy by the Israeli army to draw resistance fighters out in the open. Several of these sources also emphasized the need to exercise caution and not to repeat the Israeli claims of a withdrawal, for fears that a small Israeli force has stayed behind and remains lying in wait.
By early Wednesday morning, however, the Al-Quds Brigades-the Jenin Brigade official Telegram channel released a statement claiming victory. The statement hailed the bravery of the resistance fighters and the people of the camp, who were “our warm embrace and impenetrable fortress for the resistance during the battle.” The Brigade went on to praise the performance of medical personnel and journalists in the field.
About an hour after midnight, large crowds of camp residents in Jenin flooded the streets and chanted in victory.
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Renewed airstrikes, death toll rises to 12
Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp entered their second day of Israeli invasion on Tuesday, July 4. Close to 48 hours after the invasion began, Israeli troops are still besieging the camp, enforcing closures on entrances and exits around the refugee camp, which lies in the heart of Jenin city in the northern West Bank.
The death toll in Jenin rose to 12 Palestinians on Tuesday night. At 9:52 p.m. local time (6:52 p.m. GMT), the Palestinian health ministry announced that Israeli forces had killed a 12th Palestinian in Jenin, though their identity remained unknown.
Around the same time, local outlets reported renewed Israeli airstrikes in the city. It remained unconfirmed if the 12th casualty directly resulted from the airstrikes.
Of the 12 Palestinians who have been killed since Monday, four are children, according to the health ministry and Defense for Children International-Palestine. 10 of the slain Palestinians have been identified as:
Samih Faris Abu Aloufa, 20
Hussam Mohammad Abu Dhiba, 18
Ows Hani Hanoun, 19
Nour al-Din Hussam Marshoud, 16
Mohammad Muhannad al-Shami, 23
Ahmad Mohammad Amer, 21
Majdi Younis Ararawi, 17
Ali Hani al-Ghoul, 17
Mustafa Emad Qasem, 16
Odai Ibrahim Khamayseh, 22
Israeli forces attack hospitals
According to local sources, at around 7:40 p.m. local time (4:40 p.m. GMT), Israeli forces attacked the area around the Ibn Sina hospital near the camp, where many injured Palestinians are being treated, and locals from the camp have evacuated to. Video footage showed Israeli military trucks entering the vicinity of the hospital, while the Ministry of Health said that troops stormed the hospital.
In a second hospital in Jenin, at the governmental hospital, the health ministry said Israeli troops also stormed the hospital and began firing toward people, causing three injuries, two of which were reported to be serious.
“This aggression is a violation of all international laws and norms, Dr. Mai al-Kailah, the minister of health said in a statement. She added that since Israel’s invasion of the camp began early Monday, its troops have attacked three Palestinian hospitals in Jenin.
Jenin camp’s resistance continues battle against Israeli army
Meanwhile, inside the refugee camp, local journalist Mohammad Abed told Mondoweiss that “confrontations are persisting between Israeli forces and armed youth inside the camp,” adding that confrontations are also taking place near the entrance to the camp, and near the “cinema” circle in Jenin city.
In addition to engaging in gunfights with Israeli forces, resistance groups in the camp have also heavily employed the use of homemade bombs and explosives to target Israeli military convoys raiding the camp. Abed added that youth have also been throwing homemade explosives toward Israeli troops surrounding the camp.
In addition to the 12 people who have been killed, the health ministry reported that hospitals in Jenin have treated 120 people for injuries due to the raid, 20 of whom are in serious and critical condition.
Violence spreads across the West Bank
Outside of Jenin, two Palestinians have been killed. On Monday morning, July 3, Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man near the town of al-Bireh in the Ramallah area while protesting Israel’s invasion of Jenin.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Palestinian was shot and killed after allegedly carrying out a car ramming and stabbing in Tel Aviv. Israeli media identified him as Hassan Khalila, 23, from al-Samu’ in Hebron. Seven Israelis were injured in the attack, though no deaths were reported. Hamas claimed Khalila as one of its members, saying that he carried out the car-ramming and stabbing in response to the Israeli invasion of Jenin.
Protests against the Israeli invasion in Jenin have broken out across Gaza and the West Bank, with demonstrations reported in Gaza City, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, and Nablus.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces suppressed Palestinian protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. On Monday evening, Israeli forces fired tear gas heavily into the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem following protests in the camp. Israeli forces also suppressed protests on the main road of Bethlehem on Monday and Tuesday. According to local reports, at least two Palestinians were injured with lie ammunition during protests in the al-Bireh area of Ramallah on Tuesday.
Exodus from the camp
Since the Israeli invasion began early Monday morning at around 1 a.m., Israeli forces have carried out several airstrikes on the camp, in addition to the ground invasion being conducted by over a thousand Israeli troops and hundreds of armored military vehicles.
On Monday night at around 9:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. GMT), videos began surfacing of Palestinians fleeing the camp on foot in large numbers. Some videos showed Israeli jeeps calling out over the loudspeakers for the civilians to raise their hands in the air as they exited the camp.
Some reports claimed that Israeli forces ordered Palestinians in the camp to leave, giving them a two-hour window before renewed airstrikes. Other reports indicated that many of the families were fleeing simply out of fear for their lives after witnessing the level of destruction wreaked on the camp on Monday.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, more than 3,000 Palestinians have evacuated the camp over the past two days. The red crescent estimated the number to be around 500 families. For reference, the Jenin refugee camp is home to around 15,000 Palestinian refugees, according to camp activists.
Videos circulating on social media showed the Palestinian refugees who fled their homes gathering at local hospitals to seek refuge. Other videos that went viral showed Israeli forces firing tear gas at men, women, and children as they were evacuating the camp.
Palestinians described the scenes coming out of the camp as reminiscent of the Nakba in 1948, when Palestinian refugees – including the forefathers of those in the Jenin camp – were forced out of their homelands in historic Palestine by Zionist militias.
Israel claims near victory in Jenin, Netanyahu says not a ‘one-time thing’
On Tuesday evening local time, Israeli officials were releasing statements to the media that seemed to indicate that the end of the operation in Jenin could be near. When the operation began, it was intentionally described by Israeli officials as an “open-ended” operation, with the goal of destroying “terrorist infrastructure” in the camp.
At around 6:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. GMT), the Times of Israel reported Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as saying “in the past two years it had become a factory for terror. In the past two days, this ended.”
“We cut off the weapons manufacturing process, captured thousands of bombs, destroyed dozens of production sites, workshops and explosives labs,” he continued. “We will reach a situation where we can move everywhere… with a squad and not an entire brigade.”
Around the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli forces were “completing the mission” in Jenin, adding that “our wide scale action in Jenin is not a one-time thing.”
“We will continue [to operate] as necessary to root out terrorism. We will not allow Jenin to go back to being a hotbed of terror,” he said.
‘The Nakba reborn’: What a Palestinian journalist saw while covering the Jenin invasion
Mohammed Abed reports from Jenin: “What I saw in Jenin was the Nakba reborn. We were transported back to 1948, and 1967, and 2002, when the Jenin refugee camp was leveled. This has been the fate of the people of the camp over the past 24 hours.”
Biden plays Netanyahu’s lapdog– but many in U.S. are critical of Jenin onslaught
Phil Weiss writes: “The Biden administration supports the Israeli invasion of Jenin wholeheartedly and is echoing the Netanyahu government’s claim that the city is a “nest of terrorists.” But many voices in the West, including the media, are skeptical.”
Will Gaza respond to Israel’s operation in Jenin?
Tareq Hajjaj reports from Gaza: Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza have not yet responded to the Israeli invasion of Jenin, but political analysts say if the assault on the city is prolonged then “confrontation is inevitable.”
Behind the resistance in Jenin
Our Palestine News Director Yumna Patel traveled to Jenin in January 2023, following a deadly raid on the camp that killed 10 Palestinians. While there, she spoke to fighters in the Jenin Brigade, who said they were the first line of self-defense for their community against Israeli attacks. Many of the young men who make of the resistance in Jenin today say the atrocities they witnessed in 2002 during the Battle of Jenin, when Israeli forces killed more than 50 Palestinians, inspired them to be part of the resistance when they got older.
Watch the full report here:
Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau
Mondoweiss is an independent website devoted to informing readers about developments in Israel/Palestine and related US foreign policy. We provide news and analysis unavailable through the mainstream media regarding the struggle for Palestinian human rights.