Israeli occupation forces invaded the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near the West Bank city of Jericho early Monday morning, killing at least five Palestinians during the invasion. The bodies of the victims are being withheld by occupation forces.
Malik Awni Lafi, 22, Thaer Owidat, 28, Rafaat Wael Owidat, 21, Adham Majdi Owidat, 22, and Ibrahim Wael Owidat, 27, have been identified as the victims by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Palestinian resistance fighters met the occupation forces with gunfire as soon as the camp was raided. According to Palestinian medics, three others were wounded. One of them is still in critical condition.
The camp invasion follows over a week of occupation force checkpoints and closures on the Jericho entrances and exits. Raids on the city have stiffened following a reported shooting at a restaurant on January 28. There were no reports of casualties at the time.
According to Israeli sources, two people killed during Monday’s raid were believed to be involved in the shooting at the restaurant, which is frequently visited by occupation settlers. Israeli forces raided the Aqbat Jabr camp on Saturday and were met with intense gunfire from Palestinian resistance forces. They appeared to be members of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh mourned the victims of the raid as “heroes.”
“Despite the heinous massacre, the Qassam Brigades will continue its operations along with all revolutionaries of our people until we defeat the occupation,” he said.
Several Palestinian towns have called for confrontations with occupation troops at checkpoints and have declared a day of mourning.
Occupation forces shot Abdullah Sami Qalalweh on Friday south of Nablus near Huwara. The 26-year-old Palestinian was unarmed. So far this year, occupation forces have killed 41 Palestinians. January has been the deadliest month in the West Bank since 2015. Violence had recently spiked following a raid at the Jenin refugee camp on January 26, when occupation forces killed 10 Palestinians.
According to data from multiple sources, more Palestinians were killed throughout the West Bank by occupation forces in 2022 than in any calendar year since the Second Intifada. There were 30 Israelis killed by Palestinians during the same span.
January is the first month that the far-right Netanyahu government has been in office. Not enough of the international community is holding the occupation government accountable for the killing throughout the West Bank in January and the first six days of February. This year could be even worse than 2022 if something isn’t done immediately.