Four Palestinians were killed by special undercover Israeli forces in an arrest operation in the West Bank on Monday morning, the Israeli army said. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the number of killed.
The four people were killed after the Israeli forces entered the refugee camp in Jenin to arrest a Hamas suspect, leading to armed Palestinians opening fire at them. Three other Palestinians were injured.
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The police said that two of the suspects were shot from a distance while the two others were shot at close range.
"The undercover forces returned fire towards the terrorists and neutralized them," the police said.
Jenins's Governor Akran al-Rajoub told Haaretz that he "rejected" the Israeli version of the incident: "There are videos and documentation proving that the shooting took place from a great distance. They were killed without any justification. The whole city is mourning and the continuation of this policy will only increase the frustration and anger."
This is the second time in two weeks that an Israeli arrest operation in Jenin leads to violent clashes.
The IDF said it has met strong resistance recently by local Palestinian forces in Jenin, some of which are indirectly connected to Fatah. The Palestinian Authority has struggled to maintain control over Jenin for a long time.
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The Palestinian Health Ministry identified two of the killed as 19-year-old Saleh Amar and 31-year-old Raed Abu Said. Both were pronounced dead at the hospital in Jenin. The other two were identified as Nur Edin Jarrar and Amjad Husseiniya, whose bodies are held by Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned the "crime" committed by Israeli forces in Jenin.
"Israel is responsible for this escalation, and we call on the international community and especially the United States" to force Israel to "stop its aggression against the Palestinian people," Rudeineh said.
Hamas also condemned the incident in Jenin, calling on "mass participation of the funeral of the dead" and a "general strike throughout the West Bank."
Last week, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that the army will come down harshly on combat soldiers who not follow regulations in the field, in response to the many killings of Palestinians by IDF fire in the West Bank.
“We will back you up when you act according to orders, but we will not accept exceptions. We will back you up when you use your judgment, even if there are mistakes, but we will not accept recklessness.”
Over the past three months more than 40 Palestinians have been shot to death in clashes with soldiers, some of them non-combatants killed by mistake. This number includes 27 Palestinians killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza in May.
Reuters contributed to this report