Israel strikes militant compound under West Bank mosque, military says


RAMALLAH, (Reuters): Israeli aircraft struck a compound beneath a mosque in the occupied West Bank early on Sunday that the military said was being used by militants to organise attacks, and Palestinian medics said at least one person was killed.

The Israeli air strike is at least the second in recent days to hit the West Bank, where violence has surged since Hamas gunmen from Gaza carried out a deadly Oct 7 rampage in Israel.

Israel said the compound beneath al-Ansar Mosque, in Jenin refugee camp, belonged to operatives from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who were responsible for attacks in recent months.

“Intel was recently received which indicated that the terrorists, (who) were neutralised, were organising an imminent terror attack,” the military said in a statement.

The military released images that it said showed an entrance to a bunker under the mosque. It also released a diagram that it said showed where militants had stored weapons there.

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Jenin refugee camp, a Palestinian militant stronghold, was the focus of a major Israeli military operation earlier this year.

Footage on social media, appearing to show the scene of the air strike, showed a gaping hole in one of the mosque‘s exterior walls, surrounded by debris. Several dozen Palestinians are seen assessing the damage, as ambulance sirens blare in the background.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least one Palestinian was killed and three others injured. It had earlier said that two people were killed.

Residents of the camp said they received warnings from the Israeli military to stay away from the militants due to an impending incursion into the camp. They said the military did not specify a date.

Since the Oct 7 Hamas rampage, which has drawn two weeks of lethal Israeli bombardment of Gaza, at least 84 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces, Palestinian officials say.

On Thursday, Israel‘s military said it raided and carried out an air strike in a refugee camp near the central city of Tulkarm. The military said the raid was aimed in part at apprehending suspects and confiscating weapons. Palestinians said at least 12 were killed.

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