The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has initiated a gradual withdrawal of over 1,000 troops involved in a major military campaign in the Palestinian city and refugee camp of Jenin. The operation, which aimed to eliminate a “terrorist stronghold,” was expected to last until the goal was achieved, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Reports from local media indicate that Israeli troops began leaving the West Bank, while other units secured their pullout on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. It is still unclear whether the withdrawal was partial or complete, but IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stated that the operation would only be considered complete once all Israeli forces safely exited the area.
During the operation, an IDF non-commissioned officer from the elite Egoz commando unit was fatally wounded amid sporadic clashes. The military is investigating whether he was killed by Palestinian gunfire or “friendly fire” from other Israeli units.
The IDF launched the raid at around 1 am on Monday, employing air and drone strikes as well as a major ground offensive. The objective was to target the “terrorist infrastructure” of the local branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, known as the Jenin Battalion, and other militant groups.
Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized that the operation would continue until the mission was completed, characterizing Jenin as a “safe haven for terrorism.” He described the West Bank militants as “the most legitimate target on the planet.”
According to reports, Israeli forces have killed 18 Palestinian gunmen and interrogated over 300 suspected militants, detaining 30 of them for further investigation. The military also confiscated numerous rifles, handguns, and bomb-making materials. Additionally, they demolished more than a dozen weapon storage sites, explosives labs, and three “war rooms.”
Amid the operation, the Palestinian health ministry reported that at least 13 people were killed in the past two days, with around 100 others wounded in Israeli airstrikes and violent clashes.
The withdrawal of IDF troops marks a significant development in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. As tensions continue to escalate, it remains to be seen how this military campaign will impact the overall stability and peace in the region.
This latest operation underscores the deep-rooted complexities inherent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides remain steadfast in their pursuit of their respective goals, often resulting in violence and loss of life. Achieving a peaceful resolution to this long-standing dispute remains a daunting challenge, requiring continued diplomatic efforts from the international community.