Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza after deadly West Bank raid triggered rocket fire


The Israeli military said it and other agencies “neutralized” three wanted suspects who were involved in carrying out shooting attacks and who were planning future attacks. Two of the three died in a shootout, he said.

The raid, coupled with the high death toll, raised the possibility of further bloodshed.

Early Thursday morning, police said security guards at the entrance to a West Bank settlement fatally shot a woman who police say approached them with a knife in a stabbing attempt.

The violence comes in the first weeks of the new far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which has vowed to take a hard line against the Palestinians and vowed to speed up settlement construction on land the Palestinians seek for their future state.

Israeli forces carry out routine incursions into the occupied West Bank despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority has full control over administrative and security affairs in the area.

At least 55 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, according to the AP, while Palestinian attacks on Israelis in 2023 have killed 11 people. A similar raid last month in the West Bank city of Jenin was followed by a deadly Palestinian attack outside a Jerusalem synagogue.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. 29 people were killed by Palestinians in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Twenty-three civilians ⁠, including a child ⁠, and six members of the Israel security forces were killed.

Israel says most of the dead have been militants, but others, including youth protesting the incursions and others not involved in the fighting, have also been killed. An AP tally found that just under half of the dead belonged to militant groups.

Israel says military incursions are aimed at dismantling militant networks and thwarting future attacks; Palestinians see them as a new entrenchment in Israel’s 55-year indefinite occupation.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Palestinians seek for their long-awaited independent state, in the 1967 Middle East war.

Associated Press, Paul Goldman, Lawahez Jabari and Aina J Khan contributed.

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