Nine people died, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Another Palestinian was killed later that day by Israeli fire in a separate incident near Ramallah, also in the West Bank.
A two-story building at the center of the fighting was badly damaged and nearby houses were blackened by smoke. In another area around the camp’s community center, Israeli bulldozers used in the operation had crushed cars.
According to the UN, there have not been as many deaths in an Israeli operation in the West Bank since records of those operations began in 2005.
Israel claimed that it was a “counterterrorism” operation against the armed organization Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Authority called it a “massacre” and announced that it was ceasing security cooperation with Israel.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Friday to “end the endless cycle of violence” and said he was “very concerned about the sharp increase in Palestinian deaths in Israeli operations in the occupied West Bank.”
The Palestinian Minister of Health, Mai Al Kaila, denounced that the Israeli forces, before withdrawing, “deliberately threw tear gas grenades” into the pediatric ward of a Jenin hospital, which “caused the suffocation of some children ”.
“No one deliberately fired tear gas at a hospital…but the operation was carried out not far from a hospital and it is possible that tear gas entered through an open window,” an Israeli army spokesman told AFP.
The Jenin refugee camp, established in 1953, is home to about 20,000 refugees, according to UNRWA, the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli army, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, carries out almost daily operations in that territory and particularly in the Jenin and Nablus sectors, strongholds of armed Palestinian groups.
CIA Director William Burns, who was visiting Israel and the West Bank on a package tour before the latest outbreak of violence, was due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.
With information from AFP and Reuters