Israeli forces killed five Palestinians during a raid on a refugee camp near the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank in a response to a botched attack on Israelis, according to a statement from the Israeli military.
Israeli forces claimed they were operating in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp on Monday to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack last month at a restaurant in the illegal Israeli settlement of Vered Yerih in the occupied West Bank where around 30 people were present.
The attackers were allegedly thwarted by a weapon malfunction. They fled the scene, the military said, adding that they were members of the Hamas movement, which rules besieged Gaza.
The military claimed the attackers were barricaded in a house in the camp and were planning further operations following the attempted restaurant attack.
The Palestinian Health Ministry did not immediately confirm the deaths, saying only that three were injured, one of them critically.
Over the past week, Israeli forces have conducted a number of military raids into the occupied territory to try to find and arrest the suspects.
READ MORE: Israeli military injures several Palestinians in Jericho raid
Increased violence under new government
The military 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.
On January 26, Israeli forces conducted a military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, killing 10 Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman.
The next day, a Palestinian opened fire near a synagogue outside occupied East Jerusalem, killing seven people, including a 14-year-old.
Israeli forces regularly carry out military raids into the occupied West Bank, with Palestinians seeing an increase in force under the new right-wing government.
Israel says the raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. Palestinians see them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year illegal occupation and a form of collective punishment - illegal under international law.
READ MORE: Deadliest Israeli raid in West Bank in 20 years kills 10 Palestinians