The Israeli army raided a refugee camp near the Palestinian city of Jericho on Saturday, besieging houses it said were being used as hideouts for Palestinian attackers and shooting residents who opened fire.

The clashes injured six Palestinians, two seriously, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, and rocked a generally quiet oasis city that has seen less violence than other West Bank cities.

The army said it entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho in the occupied West Bank, to search for suspects involved in a shooting attack last week on a nearby Israeli settlement.

Last Saturday, with the West Bank on the brink after the deadliest Israeli military incursion in two decades and two subsequent Palestinian attacks in east Jerusalem that killed seven people, the army said a Palestinian gunman had opened fire at a restaurant in a settlement near Jericho. After firing a round, the gunman fled the scene, the military said. No one was hurt.

The army said several Palestinians had hidden in their homes after the shooting with the help of their family and were planning future attacks.

To force the fugitives to surrender, a military bulldozer scratched the walls of one of the houses while an Israeli commander shouted threats over a loudspeaker. Camp residents reported receiving text messages urging families to keep their children inside and avoid clashes with Israeli troops.

The suspects and their relatives left one of the houses and turned themselves in, the army said. Security forces had razed much of the house, leaving behind a pile of rubble and twisted metal. Palestinian protesters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at military jeeps as they drove through the streets of the camp, while some gunmen opened fire. The Israeli army responded and wounded six, none seriously, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The raid comes as violence escalates in Israel and the occupied West Bank under Israel’s new far-right government, which has taken a combative stance against the Palestinians. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek these territories for their long-awaited independent state.

The Israeli army has intensified near-nightly raids into the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks inside Israel last spring. Over the past year and a half of escalating raids, Jericho has remained a kind of sleepy city in the desert, free from much of the violence.

Since last week’s shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho, a closure that has placed the city under a semi-lockdown, disrupting business and creating hours-long bottlenecks at outposts. of control that even affected the Palestinian security forces, images presented.

The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for last week’s raid on the Jenin refugee camp that killed 10 Palestinians, declared an end to security coordination with Israel.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest in those areas since 2004, according to figures from Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022.

The Israeli army says that most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But young people who threw stones in protest against the incursions and others who did not participate in the clashes have also been killed.