Israeli troops kill six during new raid in Jenin
Israeli troops on Tuesday killed six Palestinians in Jenin including a militant accused of killing two Israelis, the latest deadly raid in a surge of violence in the occupied West Bank.
After Israeli troops entered the Jenin refugee camp, witnesses reported heavy gunfire between militants as forces surrounded a house.
Two witnesses said rockets had been fired at a building housing a group of militants, and reported gunfire in the streets elsewhere in the northern West Bank camp.
Thick plumes of smoke were seen rising from buildings, as Israeli armoured vehicles moved through the streets, according to an AFP photographer.
The Palestinian health ministry said in a statement that six men had been killed, one aged 49, and the rest in their 20s.
Sixteen others were wounded, the statement added, two of them with serious injuries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said troops had "eliminated the abominable terrorist" who last month killed two Israeli settlers in the West Bank, a territory which Israel has occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, called the use of rockets in the city an act of "all-out war", Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Rudeineh accused the Israeli government of being "responsible for this dangerous escalation which threatens to inflame the situation and destroy all efforts aimed at restoring stability".
The Jenin Brigade, a militant group in the camp, said on one of their Telegram channels that their gunmen fought "violent clashes" with Israeli forces.
- Surge in violence -
The Israeli raid comes amid celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Purim, and against a backdrop of rising tensions since the beginning of the year after one of the most right-wing governments led Netanyahu took office.
Elsewhere, in a separate raid on the West Bank town of Nablus, the army entered a building in the Askar refugee camp and arrested three men, according to witnesses.
Israeli forces have launched several raids on the Jenin refugee camp in recent months, including targeting operatives from Islamic Jihad.
Last month, on February 26, Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged in a joint statement to "prevent further violence" and "commit to de-escalation" following talks in Jordan.
But hours after the talks ended, two Israeli settlers -- brothers Yagel Yaniv, 20, and Hallel Yaniv, 22 -- were shot dead as they drove through the Palestinian town of Huwara.
Hundreds of rampaging settlers later set homes and cars ablaze in the town, while a Palestinian man was killed in the nearby village of Zaatara.
Since the start of the year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 71 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.
Thirteen Israeli adults and children, including members of the security forces and civilians, and one Ukrainian civilian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.