General strike in West Bank after Israeli raid kills six in Jenin

Businesses shut in a number of cities in the occupied West Bank in protest against Tuesday’s raid in Jenin.

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – A general strike is being observed across the occupied West Bank one day after Israeli forces killed six Palestinians and wounded dozens of others.

Businesses in cities including Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah shut their doors on Wednesday morning in response to the killings.

Schools and public institutions also said they were observing the strike, but they had already planned to close, as Wednesday is also an official public holiday in the occupied West Bank in observance of International Women’s Day.

“The strike comes as a denunciation of the massacre committed by the occupation today in Jenin and its camp, which claimed the lives of six martyrs, in addition to dozens of injuries,” Issam Bakr, a representative of the joint Palestinian factions’ coordination committee, said in a statement on Tuesday night, adding that the strike would encompass protests against Israeli forces.

The Israeli army launched a large-scale attack on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on Tuesday afternoon, killing six men and injuring 26 others with live ammunition, including three who remain in critical condition.

Reporting from Jenin, Al Jazeera’s Sameer Abu Shammala said “commercial stores are closed, movement is very weak”. “There is a state of anger, a sense of overload in the Palestinian street,” said Abu Shammala.

On Tuesday night, thousands of Palestinians emerged across the occupied West Bank in protest.

“The protests were in response to calls by the Lions’ Den armed group in Nablus – to express the anger of the Palestinian street,” said Abu Shammala.

Five of the slain men were residents of the Jenin refugee camp: Mohammad Wael Ghazzawi, 26; Tareq Natour, 27; Ziad Zirini, 29; Mutasem Sabbagh, 22 and Mohammad Khlouf, 22.

The sixth, 49-year-old Abdelfattah Kharousheh, was from the Askar refugee camp in Nablus city, some 40 kilometres south of Jenin.

The Israeli army said it suspects that Kharousheh carried out the drive-by shooting attack in the town of Huwara near Nablus that killed two Israeli settlers on February 26.

Kharousheh was a leader in the armed wing of the Gaza-based Hamas movement, the al-Qassam Brigades.

He was staying at a home in the Jenin refugee camp along with other fighters when Israeli forces raided the camp on Tuesday and besieged them inside the house, before attacking it with rockets and killing them.

Tuesday’s raid was the latest Israeli assault targeting Palestinian fighters in the occupied West Bank, which have also killed civilians.

An Israeli raid in late January in Jenin killed 10 Palestinians, including an elderly woman. Then, on February 6, a raid in Jericho killed five, before another raid in Nablus on February 22 that killed 11.

Israeli forces have killed at least 68 Palestinians this year, while settlers have killed five Palestinians.

Thirteen Israelis and one Ukrainian have also been killed in Palestinian attacks.

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