Jenin: Israeli forces start withdrawal after two-day operation
Israeli forces have begun pulling out from Jenin displaced camp in the occupied West Bank, a defence source says.
This ends a significant two-day activity during which 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed.
Gunfire and blasts could be heard across Jenin camp as the news arose on Tuesday night.
The Israeli military said later that it had intercepted five rockets fired towards southern Israel by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
No gathering promptly immediately that it was behind the launches.
As the Israeli withdrawal from Jenin got going, Palestinian health officials reported that a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces. It said he was the twelfth Palestinian casualty in the city since Monday.
Separately, the Israeli military said a non-commissioned officer in combat service was killed by live fire in the refugee camp on Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the day, the militant group Hamas – which governs Gaza – said a car-ramming and stabbing attack in Israel was a response to the Jenin operation.
Israeli authorities said seven people were injured on a busy shopping street in the city of Tel Aviv and that the attacker was a Palestinian man from the West Bank. He was shot dead by a civilian.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said: “Whoever thinks that such an attack will deter us from continuing our fight against terrorism is mistaken.”
He also confirmed that Israeli forces were “completing the mission” in Jenin, but warned that it would not be a “one-time action”.
Palestinian leaders accused Israel of mounting an “invasion”.
The Israeli military launched its operation in Jenin refugee camp early on Monday with a drone strike that it said targeted a joint command centre of the Jenin Brigades – a unit made up of different militant groups, including Hamas.
Drones carried out further air strikes as hundreds of troops entered the camp and engaged in intense gun battles with armed Palestinians inside the camp.
The military said the “counter-terrorism operation” was focused on seizing weapons and “breaking the safe haven mindset of the camp”.
At a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the UN’s humanitarian office said it was “alarmed at the scale of air and ground operations that are taking place in Jenin and continuing today in the West Bank, and especially [the] air strikes hitting a densely populated refugee camp”.
She said the Palestinian health ministry had confirmed that three children – two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy – were among those killed, and warned that damage to infrastructure meant most of the camp now had no drinking water or electricity.
The World Health Organization said Palestinian ambulance crews had been prevented from entering parts of the camp, including to reach people who were critically injured. The health ministry has said more than 140 Palestinians have been injured, 30 of them critically.
A Palestinian Red Crescent official said about 3,000 Palestinians, including many sick and elderly, were allowed overnight to flee the drone strikes and gun battles between Israeli troops and armed Palestinians.
A man in a wheelchair who was escorted out of the camp with his family in the morning told the BBC that they had been held in a room by Israeli troops.
“We were encircled by a military barricade. Israeli soldiers came. Now we just went out. There were no people left in the camp. We were the only ones.”
He added: “It’s been a very difficult situation. The drone was shooting at us. Now we’ve just left. And we’re all tired. We’ve had no food… No drink.”