19 October 2023 | International Solidarity Movement | Tulkarm
By Diana Khwaelid
The Israeli occupation forces launched a major military assault on the city of Tulkarm, especially on the Nur Shams refugee camp. A curfew was imposed throughout the city for at least 30 continuous hours, and Israeli snipers were deployed in more locations within the city, as well as in villages adjacent to the city and camps, especially the Nur Shams camp.
On 19-10-2023, at 3:00 in the morning, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed the Nur Shams refugee camp in huge numbers, with dozens of military jeeps, bulldozers and a D9 caterpillar. The camp’s sirens were activated, as camp residents woke up to the sound of gunfire and exploding bombs. Residents of the camp, especially children, were woken up by huge explosions that shook the camp.
There were strong clashes between Palestinian fighters who tried to defend the camp and the occupation soldiers, which lasted for around 30 hours, after which the Israeli occupation forces withdrew from the camp completely, on Friday morning at about 7:00 AM.
The Israeli occupation forces completely destroyed the main entrance to the camp and the infrastructure of the camp using one of its military vehicles, the armoured bulldozer type D9. The IOF also destroyed dozens of civilian cars belonging to the camp’s residents, 7 Palestinian houses were bombed using drones, some of which were destroyed and part of them were partially damaged.
The IOF also destroyed water networks and sewage pipes, and electricity and communication lines were completely cut off on the camp since the first hours of the invasion. There was no good communication between the camp residents and the outside, which exacerbated the problem of calling ambulances to enter the camp and transfer the wounded.
According to medical sources , 13 Palestinians were killed. 2 of them were not residents of the camp. 7 of them under the age of 18 and 2 of them were 10 years old. According to the Red Crescent, at least 40 people were injured, including by live bullets and shrapnels produced during the firing of missiles by Israeli drones, which targeted homes belonging to Palestinian civilians.
The Israeli occupation forces also obstructed the movement of medical personnel and ambulances, and hindered them from moving and entering the camp to transport the wounded to the hospital. The IOF identified members of the medical staff and obstructed the movement of journalists attempting to report on the raid. At least one injured Palestinian who was inside the ambulance was arrested on his way to the hospital.
7 Palestinians were killed while they were near a house targeted by a drone. 5 of them were children. The Israeli occupation claims that it was targeting Palestinian militants, but all those reported killed were unarmed civilians.
Hundreds of Palestinians from the camp and from nearby towns participated in the funerals of the Palestinian martyrs who were killed in cold blood during this assault launched by the Israeli occupation forces on the camp. Funeral attendees raised the Palestinian flag, and chanted patriotic words expressing national unity, anger and condemnation of the IOF’s continuing bloody crimes against the Palestinian people, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or Nur Shams camp.
After the assault, the number of martyrs of the city of Tulkarm rises to 22 since the start of the war on Gaza on 7-10-2023. 81 Palestinians were martyred in the West Bank during this period.
This is the fifth invasion on the camp in recent months, but the inhabitants of Nur Shams are still ready to sacrifice their lives to defend their homes.