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Israeli Airstrikes Target West Bank Mosques, Claim ‘Militant Base’ Eliminated

On October 22, 2023, in the Zenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, people inspected the damage caused by Israeli air strikes. The Israeli military said militants used the mosque to organize attacks.
On October 22, 2023, in the Zenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, people inspected the damage caused by Israeli air strikes. The Israeli military said militants used the mosque to organize attacks.

In a recent development, Israeli warplanes executed precision air strikes on a mosque compound situated in the West Bank on Sunday, October 22. According to the Israeli military, the airstrikes were a direct response to the use of this mosque by militants for planning attacks. Tragically, Palestinian medical staff reported at least one fatality as a result of the airstrikes.

Israeli Strikes on the West Bank: A Repeat Offense

On October 22, Israel launched its second airstrike in the West Bank within a week, targeting the Ansar Mosque located in the Jenin refugee camp. The Israeli government revealed that this mosque’s compound had been utilized by militants associated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a command center and an execution base for the planning of attacks.

The Israeli military justified its actions, stating that the targeted individuals had been responsible for a series of attacks in recent months. They cited “recently received intelligence” that pointed to these terrorists’ plans for an imminent attack. Following the airstrikes, the Israeli military claimed that the militants affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad had been “eliminated.” However, they did not provide specific details regarding the identities of these militants or the exact number of casualties.

Images released by the Israeli military showed the entrance to an underground bunker beneath the mosque, which they alleged was used for storing weapons.

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Jenin Refugee Camp: A Known Stronghold of Palestinian Militants

The Jenin refugee camp, where these airstrikes occurred, has a long history of being a stronghold for Palestinian militants. It has previously been the focal point of significant Israeli military operations, including one earlier this year.

Videos depicting the bombing of the mosques rapidly circulated on various social media platforms. These images revealed the extensive damage inflicted, with a large hole blown out of one of the mosque’s outer walls and debris strewn around the area. As the scene unfolded, dozens of Palestinians could be seen assessing the damage while the wailing sirens of ambulances provided a somber background score.

Official reports from the Palestinian news agency WAFA confirmed that the attack had resulted in one fatality and three individuals sustaining injuries. Mahmoud Al-Saadi of the Jenin Red Crescent Society stated the same.

Residents of the refugee camp mentioned that they had received warnings from the Israeli military about an impending invasion by militants and were advised to keep their distance from these individuals. However, the military did not specify a specific date for the operation.

Intensified Attacks on Gaza Strip and International Appeals

Meanwhile, in another alarming development, Israel announced on the 21st that it would escalate its attacks on the Gaza Strip with the aim of exerting greater pressure on Hamas. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman, Daniel Hagari, declared during a press conference that they would take this step to minimize the danger they faced. This intensified effort followed a series of devastating air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, initiated by Israel in retaliation for an earlier Hamas raid on Israel, which resulted in significant casualties.

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These retaliatory actions have caused widespread casualties, with Hamas authorities reporting a staggering death toll of 4,385 people, the majority of whom were civilians.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pleaded with both sides during the Egypt peace summit, which took place on Friday, for an immediate “humanitarian ceasefire” to end the ongoing crisis. Regrettably, the summit did not yield any agreement or consensus, and international disagreements on the issue persisted.

In addition to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israel conducted airstrikes on multiple Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon on the 21st. This escalation resulted in casualties on both sides and raised concerns about a potential two-sided war. The United States has actively attempted to prevent such an escalation, fearing a broader conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

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