Five killed by Israeli forces during raid: Agency

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Israeli forces killed a number of armed Palestinians during a raid on a refugee camp near the city of Jericho on Monday aimed at capturing suspected Hamas militants, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

Five people were killed, governor of Jericho Jihad Abu al-Assal said, in the raid in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in southern Jericho and eight were arrested, according to a statement published by official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

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The Palestinian health ministry said three people had been wounded, one critically but it gave no details on any dead.

The Israeli army said the targets of the raid were suspected of an attempted attack on a restaurant in the Israeli settlement of Vered Yeriho on January 28.

The raid came during a period of heightened tensions that have drawn fears of a further escalation in violence and prompted calls for calm on both sides from the United States and international bodies including the United Nations.

Israeli forces have carried out months of raids in the occupied West Bank in the wake of a spate of deadly attacks in Israel last year and forces have been put on high alert after a lone Palestinian gunman shot seven people near a synagogue on January 27.

The military said Monday’s raid in the Aqabat Jabr camp was aimed at capturing a group of militants belonging to Hamas, who it said were barricaded in a house in the camp and were planning further operations following the attempted restaurant attack.

On January 28, it said two armed individuals appeared in a restaurant in the Vered Yeriho settlement, where around 30 people were present, but fled before carrying out an attack after a weapon malfunctioned.

Over the past week, it said security forces had conducted a number of operations to try to find and arrest the suspects.

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