Jenin, occupied West Bank – In the early hours of July 3, Israeli forces launched a large-scale aerial and ground offensive on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank.
It was the largest attack on the camp in two decades, and was part of Israel’s campaign over the past two years to clamp down on re-emerging Palestinian armed resistance in the camp.
Twelve Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces during the two-day assault, while 120 others were injured, including 20 who remain in critical condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
At least 3,000 residents were forced to leave their homes and seek shelter outside the camp, the Palestine Red Crescent said.
An estimated 150 armoured vehicles and about 1,000 soldiers from elite special forces, including the military, general intelligence, police and border police, took part in the operation, which the Israelis deemed a success.
Roads were destroyed and dozens of homes, cars and other Palestinian property were demolished in the camp, while many residents told Al Jazeera that the army used their homes as military bases, and caused heavy damage to their furniture and belongings.
Maryam Jumaa al-Saadi, a 37-year-old mother of five, said Israeli forces drilled a hole into her wall and positioned their snipers there. She and her family were forced to leave on the first day of the assault when Israeli forces called through loudspeakers informing the residents of her neighbourhood that they were going to drop missiles.
When she returned, she found the inside of her house wrecked. “There are bullets all over our floor. They entered our home and ruined everything; they broke all our windows and doors. We were very afraid – especially the children,” she told Al Jazeera from the camp. “All this damage is just out of spite for the camp.”
Al Jazeera visited the Jenin refugee camp the morning after Israeli forces pulled out and documented the wreckage inside peoples’ homes and on the streets.