Israel is now using drones regularly in West Bank

A view of hands carrying bodies wrapped in flags on stretchers while others hold rifles

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians killed during a deadly Israeli raid on the city of Jenin and its refugee camp, during a funeral procession in the northern occupied West Bank city, 10 November.

Manuel Bruque EFE

Israeli forces massacred at least 14 Palestinians in a deadly raid of the city of Jenin and its refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday.

Large numbers of Israeli forces invaded the refugee camp and the surrounding area with bulldozers and military aircraft, including drones, and mounted snipers on the rooftops of buildings.

The deadly Israeli incursion lasted 12 hours, during which Israeli forces fired live ammunition at Palestinians, and an army bulldozer destroyed roads, as well as water and electricity infrastructure in the area.

More than 20 Palestinians were injured, and Israel killed four children in Jenin and its camp during the raid.

The Israeli army said its Kfir Brigade raided the camp, where they arrested people, found an underground tunnel where weapons were stored and attacked armed Palestinians.

The army said that it had killed “12 terrorists” – despite how four out of the 14 of those Palestinians killed in the camp were children. The army also said it had arrested members of Islamic Jihad – a resistance group – during the operation and found weapons.

An Israeli drone-fired missile killed five Palestinians in the camp that morning, including two children.

Lutfi Sayel Turkman, 12, and Qais Raed Dweikat, 14, had “serious shrapnel wounds and burns all over their bodies,” according to Defense for Children International-Palestine. They were transferred to hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Israeli forces shot a 13-year-old boy from inside a heavily armored Israeli military vehicle from a distance of 100 to 150 meters.

Muhammad Yousef Zayed “did not go to school” that day and “instead went into Jenin to buy shoes.”

DCIP said Muhammad looked for a cab to go home but was unable to find one, and he was shot twice by Israeli occupation forces near the taxi station in Jenin, killing him.

An Israeli sniper shot a 17-year-old boy from a distance of 200 to 250 meters, killing him. Ahmad Mahmoud Khalaf “was allegedly carrying a weapon when he was shot.”

Massive funeral processions were held in Jenin and its camp on Friday:

Israeli forces are “now regularly using weaponized drones and attack aircraft to target densely-populated residential areas,” stated Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

Israeli drone strikes in the occupied West bank have killed nine Palestinian children so far this year, while Israel has used US-made Apache helicopters to fire missiles that killed four children.

Schools and hospitals

“Israeli forces shot at a [​​Palestine Red Crescent Society] ambulance “while attempting to reach an injured person and preventing the staff from transporting him,” the group said.

“Local paramedics in Jenin refugee camp have to use a tuk-tuk, donated by MSF, to weave through the narrow alleyways of the camp to collect the wounded,” Doctors Without Borders (known by the French acronym MSF) said.

“Israeli forces often block the entrance of the camp, making it near impossible for ambulances to get in and out with the critically wounded in time to save their lives.”

Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces surrounded a hospital in the area and “opened fire on everything that moved, including ambulances,” Wafa news agency reported.

Israeli forces also stormed a public hospital, raided its emergency department, searched ambulances and prevented them from admitting the wounded.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said one of their paramedics was shot with live ammunition when it hit an ambulance.

“Israeli forces cut electricity and water supply to Jenin refugee camp and nearby neighborhoods,” DCIP reported.

The deadly Israeli attack forced thousands of school students and hundreds of children attending kindergarten to be stranded at their schools.

Three schools run by the UNRWA were besieged, DCIP said. UNRWA is the UN agency that provides basic health, education and other humanitarian services to more than five million Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

“Around 4,000 students were trapped in their schools until they were evacuated to nearby hospitals” in the evening, DCIP said.

51 children killed since 7 October

The massacre at Jenin refugee camp came after Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant said Israel “is interested in maintaining stability” in the West Bank.

Israeli fire has killed nearly 170 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, and an additional eight were killed by settlers, the UN monitoring group OCHA has reported.

This constitutes more than 40 percent of all Israeli killings in the area since the beginning of the year.

Fifty one Palestinian children have been killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) has said. The total number of Palestinian children killed in the West Bank so far this year is now higher than 90.

Meanwhile on Friday, an Israeli sniper stationed in a military tower shot a 17-year-old boy in the chest as he prepared to pray at a mosque near his house in Aida refugee camp beside Bethlehem.

Israeli forces then prevented an ambulance from reaching Muhammad Ali Azya’s body, and barred his father from taking him to hospital in his car.

Israeli forces “detained Muhammad despite his injuries,” and only handed his body over to a Palestinian ambulance more than three hours after he was shot.

Israeli forces have injured over 2,500 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October, many of them children.


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.