Israel and Gaza exchange fire as troops withdraw from Jenin


GAZA: Israel carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Five rockets were fired from Gaza, which triggered alarms in southern Israel. The Israeli army said it carried out the air strikes after it intercepted the rockets fired at Israeli territory.

A Palestinian security source said the attacks hit a military site of the militant group Hamas in northern Gaza but caused no injuries.

The five rockets came in response to Israel’s two-day operation that was carried out on Monday in the Jenin refugee camp. It was one the biggest West Bank operations in 20 years, killing at least eight Palestinians and involving hundreds of Israeli troops inside the camp, engaging in gun battles with armed Palestinians.

Israel’s military said it was carrying out a “counter-terrorism operation”, while the Palestinian foreign ministry called it “open war against the people of Jenin”.

On the second day of the operation, a 20-year-old Palestinian man in Tel Aviv injured seven people by ramming his car into them. He was shot in the head when he got out and attempted to stab pedestrians.

The Israeli security minister said a “brave citizen” shot the suspected attacker, while the Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed the “heroic” attack in the city to be a response to Israel’s West Bank operation.

Late on Tuesday, an Israeli army spokesman said troops “have started withdrawing from Jenin camp”.
The United Nations condemned the violence in Jenin and Tel Aviv. “The killing, maiming and the destruction of property must stop,” UN rights chief Volker Turk said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari decried the situation in Jenin and urged the international community to “act now to stop this egregious spilling of Palestinian blood”.

“I reiterate strongest support for the legitimate Palestinian cause and struggle,” he said in a tweet.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office also issued a statement asking the international community “to assume its responsibility in bringing these brutal and illegal actions by the Israeli occupation forces to a halt and to ensure the protection of the human rights of the Palestinian people”.

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