Six Palestinians, Israeli Officer Killed In West Bank

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RAMALLAH:  An early morning strike by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank killed six Palestinians, while an Israeli police officer died when a roadside bomb hit her vehicle on Sunday (Jan 7), sources on both sides said.

Violence in the West Bank since the start of Israel’s war with Gaza-based Hamas militants has surged to levels unseen in nearly two decades. Israeli forces carry out regular raids in the occupied territory, especially in the militant stronghold of Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp.

“An Israeli occupation bombardment on a group of citizens killed six people in Jenin,” said the Palestinian Authority-run Ministry of Health, which is based in Ramallah.

An Israeli police officer was killed in an operation in Jenin refugee camp, the force said in a statement. It added that three other officers had been wounded.

“She (officer) was in an operational vehicle that was hit by an explosive device,” the force said.

Blood stains remain near the spot where an explosive device killed an Israeli officer during an Israeli raid in Jenin, the occupied West Bank. (Photo: AFP/Zain Jaafar)

It was not immediately clear whether the six Palestinians and the Israeli officer were killed during the same operation.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported early Sunday that a major deployment of Israeli forces was underway in Jenin.

It said the six Palestinians, including four brothers, were killed in an “Israeli drone strike” in Jenin.

Israeli army raids on the Jenin area often trigger gun battles between troops and Palestinian militants.

The army says it is targeting “terrorists” in its raids, but the Palestinian health ministry says many civilians are among the dead.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since a war with Arab states in 1967.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct 7, at least 327 people in the West Bank have been killed by either soldiers or Israeli settlers, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

In response, Israel is carrying out a relentless bombardment and ground invasion that have killed more than 22,000 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory.