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At least 5 Palestinian militants killed in exchange of fire with Israeli forces near Jericho

According to the IDF statement, its forces entered the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp to uncover a terror cell that had attempted a shooting attack on a restaurant last week

This article originally appeared on Haaretz, and was reprinted here with permission. Sign up here to get Haaretz’s free Daily Brief newsletter delivered to your inbox.

At least five Palestinians were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces in the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho overnight into Monday following a week of increased Israeli raids and roadblocks on the city.

According to a joint statement by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Ben Security service, Israeli forces conducted an operation in the camp to arrest a militant cell which had attempted to carry out a shooting attack last Saturday at a restaurant frequented by Israeli settlers just south of the city.

According to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the killing of the five Palestinians in Jericho proves that “the new Israeli government continues the series of crimes against the Palestinian people, and challenges any attempts, including those made by the international community, to curb Israeli aggression.”

“Israel’s crimes are only encouraged by the silence of the international community,” Abbas added.

Compared to West Bank cities such as Jenin and Nablus, centers of Palestinian militancy where Israeli raids are the norm, raids in Jericho are much less common. On Monday morning, several Palestinian militant factions warned that Israel “will pay the price,” calling on Palestinian “heroes and revolutionaries” in the West Bank, Jerusalem and within the Green Line to rise up.

A Palestinian gunman opened fire at a restaurant on Saturday during business hours, and managed to escape with a driver. The army arrested several others on suspicion of involvement and launched a days-long effort to find those behind the weekend attack.

Immediately following the shooting on Saturday, six Palestinians were wounded in a gunfire exchange between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the refugee camp in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

In the last week, the Israeli army had also placed limits on the exits of Palestinians from Jericho in a bid to find the gunman behind the attack, which residents report has made it difficult to leave the city.

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