Gaza rockets and Israeli strikes follow deadly West Bank raid

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets into southern Israel and Israeli aircraft struck targets in the coastal enclave early Thursday after Deadly shootout with Israeli troops 10 Palestinians have died in the occupied West Bank.

The bloodshed prolongs one of the bloodiest periods in recent years between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the beginning of the year. Palestinian attacks on Israelis in 2023 killed 11 people.

The violence comes in the early weeks of a new far-right government in Israel that has pledged to take a tough stance against the Palestinians and pledged to intensify settlement building on land the Palestinians are seeking for their future state.

Israel prepared for retaliation, and the police tightened security measures in high-profile areas. A day after a January raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank that killed 10 Palestinians, a Palestinian shot and killed seven people outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem.

On Thursday, police said guards at the entrance to a West Bank settlement shot and lightly wounded a woman who police said tried to stab the guards with a knife.

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired six rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the south of the country early Thursday morning. The Israeli military said the air defense intercepted five missiles fired at the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot. One rocket landed in an open field.

The Israeli plane then struck several targets in northern and central Gaza, including a weapons manufacturing facility and a military compound belonging to the Hamas militant group that rules Gaza. There were no reports of casualties in Israel or Gaza.

Violence in the West Bank often draws backlash from militants in Gaza, although Palestinian militants did not immediately claim responsibility for the rocket attacks.

Among those killed in Wednesday’s raid in Nablus were Palestinians aged 72 and 61, as well as a 16-year-old boy, health officials said. Dozens of others were wounded. Various groups of Palestinian militants claimed the six dead as members. It is not known if the rest belong to armed groups. Officials also said the 66-year-old man died from tear gas poisoning.

It was one of the bloodiest battles in nearly a year of fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, raising the possibility of further bloodshed. Israeli police said they were on high alert, while Hamas fighters in Gaza said they were “wearing out of patience.” Islamic Jihad, another militant group, vowed revenge.

In response to the raid, a strike was called in the West Bank and schools, universities and shops closed in protest. Schools and universities were closed in Gaza. Most shops in east Jerusalem were also closed.

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