Israel sharply escalated its military operations in the West Bank on Monday, deploying hundreds of troops and making several drone strikes against a militant stronghold.
The crackdown on the Jenin refugee camp is the most significant increase in military activity in the region for close to two decades. At least eight Palestinians have been killed, and dozens more have been wounded.
The Jenin camp, in the northern part of the West Bank, is known to be a nexus of militant activity. Israel's chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said there had been some 50 attacks launched from the region in the last year.
"In recent months, Jenin has turned into a safe haven for terrorism," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We are putting an end to this."
The Israeli military on Monday blockaded all traffic and patrolled the streets in armored vehicles. Power and water services to the area were cut. The army said it was allowing people to leave the area to escape the violence.
U.N. officials said they were alarmed at the surge in activity. Concerning drone strikes against civilian areas, they warned that "attacks on heavily populated areas are violations of international humanitarian law."
The crackdown comes after recent attacks on Israeli settlers. Four Israelis died in June after two Palestinians opened fire at a restaurant and gas station, before being shot dead.
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