Israel on heightened alert following deadly attacks

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Tel Aviv, April 1

Israel is on heightened alert and has arrested dozens of Palestinians as the government is grappling with the deadliest string of attacks in years.

On Thursday, the Israeli military raided the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, triggering a gun battle, which led to the deaths of at least two Palestinians, while 15 others were injured, reports Xinhua news agency.

"During the activity, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the troops," the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the troops responded with fire and the goal of the raid was to "apprehend suspects".

The Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group, issued a statement calling for a "general mobilisation" of its fighters in the wake of the raid.

In another incident also on Thursday, a 30-year-old Palestinian man from Bethlehem city in the West Bank stabbed a commuter on a bus before he was shot dead by a passenger.

The hospital said that the injured, a 28-year-old Israeli man, is in critical condition.

The latest violence came two days after a Palestinian gunman from the village of Ya'bad near Jenin city opened fire in a suburb of Tel Aviv, killing five people before he was shot dead by the police.

The shooting was part of a week-long wave of attacks carried out by Palestinian citizens of Israel or Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, which claimed the lives of nine Israelis and two Ukrainian nationals.

On Sunday night, two Islamic State (IS) terror group sympathisers on a shooting spree in the central city of Hadera killed two police officers.

The assailants were Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Last week, a Bedouin citizen of Israel, who also was an IS sympathiser, carried out a combined car-ramming and stabbing attack in the southern city of Beersheba, which claimed the lives of four people.

The attacks came as Israel was holding the first conference with four Arab foreign ministers and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a bid to strengthen ties in order to build a coalition against Iran in the wake of the looming renewed nuclear deal.

In response, the Israeli government has taken a series of measures to halt the attacks.

During an urgent meeting of the security cabinet called by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the government decided to increase the presence of security forces and reinforce troops in the West Bank and the area near the wall separating the West Bank and Israel.

A series of additional security measures were also announced, including carrying out "extensive counter-terror operations".

The cabinet said that work permits of people "in the close circle of the terrorists" will be revoked in order to "strengthen deterrence".

Israel's Army Radio reported on Thursday that at least 43 people have been arrested over the past week on suspicion of involvement in IS activities.


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