Israeli police heighten the level of alert across the country

Israel was on heightened alert and preparing for a possible escalation after its troops killed 10 Palestinians in a raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Israeli police said they heightened the level of alert across the country and increased security presence in Jerusalem and other major areas for concerns of possible armed retaliation.

The military has also reinforced its Iron Dome batteries, the air defense systems used to intercept rockets from the coastal Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip.

The rare daytime raid in Nablus, a major Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, sparked fighting between locals and Israeli troops earlier in the day. The Palestinian health ministry said 10 people were killed and 102 others injured in the clashes.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the raid aimed at arresting suspects for the killing of a soldier near an Israeli settlement last year, adding at least three Palestinian members of the Lion’s Den, a newly-formed militant group based in Nablus, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group based in Gaza, were killed in the raid.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman of the military wing of Gaza’s ruling faction Hamas, warned in a statement that the group’s “patience is running out.”

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also released a statement vowing retaliation “at any moment and from everywhere.”

The tension between Israelis and Palestinians has been flaring since early January in the West Bank.

Israeli forces killed at least 61 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023, mainly during daily raids allegedly aimed at arresting suspects in deadly Palestinian attacks, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Meanwhile, official figures from Israel showed 11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks since the beginning of 2023. ■

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