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Palestinians march in their thousands following Israel's deadly Jenin attack

As Israel fired rockets into Gaza, Palestinians in the West Bank marched in their thousands, mourning the 10 Palestinians killed there
Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians who were killed in an Israeli raid in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 26 Jan. 26, 2023. (Reuters)

Palestinians came out in their thousands following Friday prayers to protest one of the deadliest Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank in over two decades.

Mosques across the West Bank and Gaza held prayers for the deceased Palestinians, nine of whom were killed on Thursday by Israeli forces at the Jenin refugee camp.

Later on Thursday, Israeli forces fired at Palestinian demonstrators in the town of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, who had come out to protest against the killings.

One man, 22-year-old Youssef Yahya Abdul Karim Muhaisen, was killed.

Mourners in al-Ram came out to bury Muhaisen on Friday, chanting slogans condemning the Israel occupation and yesterday's killings in Jenin, which also left a 61-year-old woman, Magda Obaid, dead.

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According to the Palestinian media outlet Wafa, more than 70,000 Palestinian worshippers showed up at al-Aqsa Mosque's courtyards in occupied East Jerusalem, despite the strict military measures imposed by the Israeli forces.

No incidents were reported. However, thousands of Israeli forces were stationed around the city, checking the identity of worshippers and denying entrance to dozens.

The latest fatalities bring the number of Palestinians killed this year to 30, including four children.

Separately, in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, hundreds of Palestinians came out to protest following Friday prayers in a bid to save their homes from being demolished by Israel. 

Earlier this week, two parliamentarians from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party visited the village to press the government to expel the Palestinians.

The destruction of Khan al-Ahmar would represent a precedent to the demolition of 24 other similar communities in the region covering an area of 12,000 dunum (1,200 hectares), warned Jamal Juma, a coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. 

It would also render any future contiguous Palestinian state all but impossible.

Arab silence

In Israel, Palestinians held a protest in the predominantly Arab city of Tamra, condemning yesterday's attack. 

During the vigil, Suhail Diab, the city's mayor, referenced the "crimes of the Israeli occupation" and condemned "the international and Arab silence regarding what is happening to the Palestinians".

He called for "international and Arab action to reject the Israeli government's violations and massacres against the Palestinian people."

More broadly, however, Israeli society did not come out to protest, and a far-right Israeli lawmaker tweeted on Thursday that the country's military should "keep killing them", in reference to Palestinians.

In a statement, the United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, said: "I am extremely alarmed by the news of renewed lethal violence in Jenin. While facts and circumstances need to be ascertained, I recall the occupying power's obligation to ensure that civilian persons are protected from all forms of violence at all times."

At dawn on Friday, Israeli forces launched air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip after rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave following the Israeli killings in the West Bank.

Israeli warplanes fired 15 missiles on a site in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of the enclave, causing damage to property and resulting in a power outage in the area, Wafa news agency reported. 

According to the agency, warplanes also destroyed and set fire to two other sites, in the north and southeast.

It followed rockets being fired from Gaza towards Israel on Thursday night and into Friday morning.

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