JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian Authority declared Thursday it would halt the security cooperation that has solidified the authority’s hold over the West Bank, following Israel’s military raid into the occupied territory that killed nine Palestinians.
The sides maintain security ties in a shared effort to contain Islamic militants, and severing them raises fears that attacks by militant groups might not be prevented.
The PA has tried such a move before as a form of protest with little success, in part because of the benefits the leadership enjoys from the relationship and also due to U.S. and Israeli pressure to maintain it.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, made the announcement at a news conference in Ramallah several hours after the deadliest single Israeli raid in the West Bank in two decades.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — Israeli forces killed at least nine Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman, and wounded several others in a large-scale raid Thursday in a flashpoint area of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said. It was the deadliest single operation in the territory in two decades.
The Israeli military also fatally shot a 22-year-old Palestinian later in a separate incident.
The raid in the Jenin refugee camp increases the risk of a major flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian fighting days, poses a test for Israel's new hard-line government and casts a shadow on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's expected trip to the region next week.
Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, threatened revenge. Violent escalations in the West Bank have previously triggered retaliatory rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces in the West Bank and on the country's border with Gaza went on heightened alert. Protesters poured into the streets across the territory, chanting in solidarity with Jenin, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met top advisers to discuss a response to the raid.
A senior official said the Palestinians were expected to halt security coordination with Israel — a move it has tried in the past with little success.
The sides maintain security ties in a shared effort to contain Islamic militants. Palestinian moves to suspend this coordination have been short-lived, in part because of the benefits it enjoys from the relationship and also due to U.S. and Israeli pressure to maintain it.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement later Thursday, said the Palestinians also planned to file complaints with the U.N. Security Council, International Criminal Court and other international bodies.
The gunbattle erupted when the Israeli military conducted a rare daytime operation in the refugee camp that it said was meant to prevent an imminent attack against Israelis. The camp, where the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group has a major foothold, has been a focus of near-nightly Israeli arrest raids.
At least one of the dead was identified by Palestinians as a militant, but it was not clear how many others were affiliated with armed groups.
Later in the day, Israeli forces fatally shot a 22-year-old, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as young Palestinians confronted Israeli troops north of Jerusalem to protest Thursday's raid.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have soared since Israel stepped up raids in the West Bank last spring, following a series of Palestinian attacks. The conflict has only intensified this month, as Israel’s far-right government came to office and pledged a hard line against the Palestinians.
Israel's new national security minister, far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to grant legal immunity to Israeli soldiers who shoot Palestinians, posted a video of himself Thursday beside the Israeli police chief, beaming triumphantly. He congratulated security forces on a “successful operation,” saying the government gives “backing to our fighters in the war against the terrorists.”