tel aviv attack
Israel says it is targeting the refugee camp because it is home to the Palestinians responsible for a series of attacks on Israeli citizens in recent months. Early Tuesday, Israeli forces said they had been able to find and seize weapons and explosives, as well as destroy tunnels and command posts.
“In recent months, Jenin has become a safe haven for terrorism. We are putting an end to this,» Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, adding that the operation was being carried out with «minimal damage to civilians.»
Some Palestinians say the violence is the result of more than 50 years of occupation by Israeli forces. They observed a general strike in the West Bank in protest.
An attacker charged into pedestrians on Tel Aviv’s Pinchas Rosen street in the attack on Tuesday before coming out and stabbing people with a «sharp object,» police in the bustling city said, adding that «the terrorist has been neutralized”.
Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told reporters that an armed civilian shot and killed the assailant, The Associated Press reported.
Security video showed a car crashing outside an area where people were sitting at tables; The driver then climbed out of the window and chased after the people.
Three of the injured were in serious condition, two in moderate condition and two in mild condition, police said.
Hamas, which praised the attack, is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and others.
The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank condemned the raid, saying Monday night that it would freeze the few remaining points of cooperation with Israel, as well as minimize contact with Israel’s main benefactor, the United States.
A spokesman said the State Department supported Israel’s «right to defend its people» against «terrorist groups.» The spokesman warned that it was «imperative to take all possible precautions to avoid the loss of civilian life» and urged «the Israeli and Palestinian security forces to work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank.»
International organizations have also expressed concern.
The United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warned that the escalation was “very dangerous”.
Lynn Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian areas, tweeted that she was «alarmed» by the “scale of the Israeli forces operation” and pointed to airstrikes on a densely populated refugee camp. She said that the UN was mobilizing humanitarian aid.