The raid began at around 9:30am local time when Israeli special forces entered the camp and headed to the family home of Raad Hazem, a 28-year-old who carried out a shooting at a bar in Tel Aviv on Thursday, killing three Israelis.
Reinforcements followed, and Israeli troops raided the camp from all entrances, to be met by Palestinian fighters residing in the camp who began firing at troops in several locations.
A local source told Middle East Eye that Palestinian fighters also used an explosive device in the heavy street fights, which lasted for nearly three hours before Israeli forces withdrew from the city.
One Palestinian, identified as Ahmad al-Saadi, 23, was killed in the gunfight, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, said he was a commander in its Jenin unit.
At least 13 more Palestinians sustained bullet wounds, including a 19-year-old woman, with two in critical condition.
Two more were wounded in the shoot-outs and detained by the Israeli army.
An eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, told MEE that Israeli snipers stationed on rooftops during the raid were shooting at passers-by, including his friend, who was wounded by a live bullet while walking on the street.
The Israeli army said in a statement early in the morning that military forces entered Jenin and operated in the refugee camp, without giving more details. No Israeli casualties were reported.
While surrounding Hazem’s family home, Israeli forces took measurements of the house ahead of a potential demolition, Israeli media reported.
Israel often demolishes family homes of those accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli targets, in a policy condemned by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.
Israeli forces also attempted to arrest Fathi Hazem, Raad’s father, but he refused to turn himself in and the troops left without detaining him, an eyewitness told MEE.
Jenin camp fighters
The northern West Bank city, particularly its central refugee camp, is known as a stronghold for a reemerging Palestinian armed resistance movement.
Since late last year, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have made several attempts to contain the growing number of armed fighters in the city.
In late December, Israeli armed forces chief of staff Aviv Kochavi said in an interview with Channel 12 that Israel was on the cusp of launching a major operation in Jenin three months earlier, before they called the PA into action.
Last week, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians in a pre-dawn ambush in Jenin as residents marked the 20th anniversary of a brutal Israeli assault on the city’s refugee camp that has become emblematic of Israel’s occupation.
The Saturday raid comes at a time of heightened tensions in Israel and Palestine.
Fourteen Israelis have been killed in the past three weeks in shooting and stabbing attacks carried out by Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and inside Israel.
At least six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the same period in the West Bank, including one shot by a settler.
In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police have carried out a nightly crackdown on Palestinians celebrating Ramadan at Damascus Gate since the start of the holy month on 2 April.
More than 30 people were arrested, including minors, and dozens were wounded in the assaults.
Source: Al Jazeera, Additional reporting by Shatha Hammad.