At least four Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Around 20 other residents suffered gunshot wounds, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Thursday. Several of them are in critical condition. A 16-year-old was also among the dead.

According to the Israeli army, two armed terrorist suspects were killed in the operation. They belonged to the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad. One of the two was therefore suspected of having been involved in the production of explosives and shots at soldiers. During the operation, there were exchanges of fire with armed Palestinians and “further hits were found,” the military said. In addition, another suspect was killed, who is said to have attacked the soldiers with a crowbar.

The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has been very tense for a long time. Three armed Palestinians were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers in Nablus on Sunday. Since the beginning of the year, 13 Israelis and one Ukrainian have been killed in Palestinian attacks. In the same period, 85 Palestinians lost their lives – for example in confrontations with the Israeli army or in their own attacks. A further escalation of violence is feared during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, which begins in less than a week.