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Israel starts withdrawal from Jenin after biggest West Bank operation in years | World News

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Israeli troops have been pulling out of the Palestinian city of Jenin following one of their biggest West Bank operations in years.

Convoys of military vehicles were seen leaving less than 48 hours after the offensive started.

Despite the withdrawal, explosions could still be heard amid unconfirmed reports of a gunfight near a hospital.

At least 12 people have been killed and about 100 injured, according to Palestinian officials, in what Israel says was a carefully targeted mission against terrorist infrastructure.

“At this moment we are completing the mission, and I can say that our extensive activity in Jenin is not a one-time operation,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pullout comes after at least eight people were injured when a man drove a van into people at a Tel Aviv bus stop and carried out a stabbing attack before being killed.

Palestinian militant group Hamas said it was in retaliation for Israel’s actions in Jenin.

Drone strikes and about 1,000 troops were involved in the operation and the Palestinian Red Crescent said about 3,000 people had to be evacuated from the city’s packed refugee camp.

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Gunshots across West Bank’s Jenin

Power and water were also cut off after Israeli bulldozers that were looking for improvised bombs severed a main pipe and cables.

Israel’s military said the mission – which began in the early hours of Monday – had discovered underground explosives caches, confiscated 1,000 weapons, and arrested 30 suspects.

The US had urged Israel to take all possible steps to avoid civilian casualties, while the UN said it was “alarmed” at the size of the operation and the strikes inside the refugee camp – home to about 14,000 people.

Four of the 12 dead were claimed by the Islamic Jihad faction, while Hamas claimed a fifth.

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CCTV shows moment of Tel Aviv attack

The status of the others is so far unknown, but Israel said it believed no civilians had been killed.

The mission marks Israel’s most intense military operation in the West Bank in nearly 20 years and is reminiscent of tactics during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.

It comes amid growing domestic pressure for a tough response to recent attacks.

Palestinian attacks have killed at least 25 Israelis this year, including four settlers killed in a shooting last month, while over 140 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank.

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