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Jerusalem, July 4 – Some 500 Palestinian families were allowed to leave the refugee camp in Jenin amid an ongoing Israeli military operation in the West Bank city, the media reported on Tuesday.
As of Monday night, hundreds of Israeli soldiers were still operating inside Jenin, more than 20 hours after the Jewish state’s military launched the operation deemed to be one of the most extensive in the territory in recent years, the BBC reported.
According to the Israeli military, there was no specific timeline for ending the operation, but that it could be “a matter of hours or a few days”.
On Monday, the sounds of drones, regular bursts of gunfire and tloud thuds of explosions were heard throughout the day from the densely populated refugee camp, which is home to some 18,000 people and is now declared a closed Israeli military zone.
The Israeli military has cut off telephone communications and the electricity supply to the camp, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of what is happening.
Palestinian medics have said that nine people have died so far, while more 100 others were injured.
The Israeli military said it struck a “joint operations centre” which served as a command centre for fighters from the Jenin Brigades, an armed unit comprised of fighters from different militant groups.
It however, declined to specify whether Monday’s strike also involved a drone.
The incursion into Jenin is the first since the 2002 Battle of Jenin during the second intifada, when more than 50 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in over a week of fighting, including 13 Israeli soldiers in a single incident.
On Monday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised its forces for entering what he called the “nest of terrorists” and asserted that they were doing so “with minimal injury to civilians”, reports the BBC.
“We will continue this action as long as necessary in order to restore quiet and security,” he added.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 140 Palestinians — both militants and civilians — have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, while another 36 have been killed in the Gaza Strip.
Twenty-four Israelis, two foreigners and a Palestinian worker have been killed in attacks or apparent attacks by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank.
All were civilians except one off-duty serving soldier and a member of the Israeli security forces.