Israeli raid in West Bank kills at least 10

More than 100 wounded after troops surround building containing three militants

Israel is bracing for Palestinian revenge attacks after at least 10 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded during a military raid in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday to arrest militants.

The incursion, involving 150 soldiers, took place during broad daylight in the crowded market area of the West Bank’s biggest city.

Troops surrounded a building which contained three militants from the Islamic Jihad and the local Lion’s Den faction. The three men were shot and killed during an exchange of fire during which troops fired an anti-tank missile at the building. Israel claims the militants had been involved in numerous attacks in the past, including the killing of a soldier near a West Bank settlement last October, and were planning another attack in the coming days.

Further clashes erupted when scores of gunmen from different armed factions opened fire on the soldiers and threw petrol bombs. According to the Israeli military eight militants were killed along with two elderly bystanders caught in the crossfire. The Palestinians confirmed that six of those killed were militants.


Two Israeli soldiers were lightly hurt.

Six of the wounded were reported in serious condition. Al Jazeera also reported that three of the wounded were journalists.

Israel went on a high state of alert in response to the unusually high number of Palestinian fatalities, and was bracing for attacks inside Israel and the possibility of rocket fire from Gaza. Police reinforcements were sent to Jerusalem and other cities and the West Bank seam line.

A number of clashes were reported across the West Bank following the Nablus clash.

A spokesperson for the Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades military wing in Gaza, Abu Obeida, said “the resistance forces in the Gaza Strip are monitoring the crimes of the enemy and their patience is running out”.

Islamic Jihad threatened retaliation. “It will come at any moment and from everywhere. The blood of the martyrs in Nablus has not been spilled in vain,” the group said in a statement.

Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh called the clashes in Nablus “another massacre carried out by the occupation”.

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations also demanded action from the international community. “The United Nations, which is supposed to stand by the weak and the vulnerable, should stand with the Palestinian people,” Riyad Mansour said.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan all condemned the Israeli raid.

Egypt’s foreign ministry expressed “deep concern” that the operation would further escalate tensions, harming Cairo’s efforts to instil calm. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry called the “Israeli occupation forces’ storming of the Palestinian city … a serious violation of international law”.

Qatar called the incident an “extension of Israel’s systematic crimes against the Palestinian people”.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, traditionally a period of tension – particularly in Jerusalem- is only a month away and Israel is concerned that events will once again spiral out of control.

A similar daytime military incursion in Jenin last month, when 10 Palestinians were killed, prompted the Palestinian Authority to break off security coordination with Israel and was followed by a wave of Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem which left 11 Israelis dead.

Sixty one Palestinians have been killed so far this year , the highest figure since the second Palestinian intifada uprising in 2000.

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem