Israel Army Raids West Bank Town as Tensions Soar
The military operation came after a gunman in his 20s from Jenin went on a shooting rampage on Thursday evening
Israeli forces on Sunday carried out fresh raids in Jenin, a West Bank district that is home to gunmen who launched a spate of recent deadly attacks.
"Troops are currently operating in the city of Jenin," the Israeli army said.
The military operation came after a gunman in his 20s from Jenin went on a shooting rampage on Thursday evening, killing three Israelis and injuring several others in a crowded Tel Aviv bar.
Attacks in recent days have claimed the lives of a total of 14 people, marking one of the deadliest bursts of violence against Israelis in years.
Jenin is considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants
Over the same period, at least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including assailants, according to AFP news agency.
Two Palestinians killed in separate incidents
On Sunday, Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian women, one of them unarmed, in separate incidents in the West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
Israeli troops opened fire at a woman who the army said failed to heed to calls to stop at a checkpoint near Bethlehem.
The army said the woman ignored warning shots that were fired into air. Soldiers then shot her in the lower part of her body.
The woman died from her injuries in a hospital, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The Israeli military said the woman was found to be unarmed, adding that the incident was being probed.
Later in the day, an Israeli soldier shot and killed a woman after she attacked him with a knife at a border post in the volatile southern West Bank city of Hebron.
The officer was slightly injured.
Following Thursday's attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he gave security agencies "full freedom" to end the deadly violence. "There are not and will not be limits for this war," Bennett said.
"We will do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, for however long and wherever needed, until both safety and the sense of security are restored," army chief Aviv Kochavi told soldiers in a video released by the military.
West Bank shrine vandalized amid tensions
Jenin is considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants. Israeli forces often come under attack when operating there.
The Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank and coordinates with Israel on security matters, also seems to have little control over the area.
The Israeli military also said Sunday that Palestinians set fire to a West Bank shrine revered by Jews.
Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus is a Jewish pilgrimage site.
"The vandalism of Joseph's Tomb is a grave event and a serious violation of freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew,'' Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted.
PM Bennett said he was shocked by the images and stressed that Israel would find the perpetrators.
sri/aw (AP, AFP)
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