Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers during a raid in the occupied northern West Bank, causing Palestinian authorities to sever security relations with Israel and international mediators to scramble to prevent the bloodshed from spreading.
Thursday morning’s unrest resulted in the deaths of a 61-year-old lady and a male civilian, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. An additional 20 individuals were critically injured in the violence. Two of the dead were claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, four by Hamas, and one by the military wing of Fatah, which is led by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinian Authority, which oversees portions of the West Bank and works with Israel to limit militant activities, announced on Thursday night that it was temporarily halting security cooperation with the Israeli government.
The death toll is the highest reported by the United Nations for a single operation since the organization began keeping data in 2005.
In an effort to calm the situation, UN and Arab mediators announced Thursday afternoon that conversations were underway with Israel and Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel gave no apparent indication that it was involved in negotiations. The defense minister, Yoav Gallant, heightened the alert status of forces in the occupied West Bank and along the Gaza border.