RAMALLAH/AMMAN, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian and Jordanian authorities on Thursday condemned Israeli soldiers' killing of nine Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israeli soldiers killed at least nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and injured 20 others, four of whom are in critical conditions, in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, said in a press statement that what happened in Jenin and its refugee camp "is a massacre carried out by the Israeli occupation government."
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the "bloody and barbaric incursion committed by the Israeli forces in Jenin and its camp."
At a news briefing in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila accused the Israeli soldiers of preventing Palestinian ambulances and medical teams from going to the refugee camp to take the injured to the hospital in Jenin.
"The occupation forces also stormed Jenin Hospital and fired teargas canisters, causing suffocation to dozens of children at the children's ward," Al-Kaila said, adding "it is an awful crime and a violation of human rights law."
She called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization to hold an urgent meeting and stop "the aggression and save the lives of the Palestinians in Jenin and its camp."
In a statement issued by Jordan's Foreign Ministry, spokesperson Sinan Majali denounced the Israelis' escalating military campaign and warned of a "new wave of violence."
Violence would only lead to more violence, the spokesperson said, warning that Israeli raids into Palestinian cities amid the persistent stalemate in the Middle East peace process would result in a dangerous escalation that threatens regional peace and stability.
The Jordanian ministry urged Israel to halt all military operations against Palestinians, and refrain from illegitimate procedures that would undermine the two-state solution and opportunities for peace.
On Thursday, Palestinian eyewitnesses and local sources said Israeli soldiers, backed by bulldozers and armored vehicles, stormed the refugee camp to arrest Palestinian activists and militants wanted by Israel.
They said that a bulldozer of the Israeli army demolished the fence of the main sports club in the refugee camp, adding that fierce clashes broke out between dozens of Palestinians and the Israeli soldiers.
On social media, eyewitnesses shared pictures and videos of Israeli military bulldozers destroying buildings and vehicles.
The Israeli military said in a statement that the army and the national counter-terrorism force Yamam raided the refugee camp of Jenin in order to arrest "a terror squad" belonging to the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group. A gunfight ensued between the Israeli troops and members of the Islamic Jihad squad.
Eyewitnesses in Jenin said that the Israeli forces cut off the electricity supply to the camp and prevented medical staff and journalists from entering it.
Describing the situation as "dangerous," the Palestinian governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, told Xinhua that the Israeli forces' storming of Jenin and its camp is the one of the largest and most extensive operations in years.
He called on the international community to protect the residents of the city and its camp and to allow medical staff to do their work in rescuing the injured.
Since early January, the tension between Israel and the Palestinians has been flaring. At least 29 Palestinians have been killed, and dozens were injured by Israeli soldiers since Jan. 1, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Palestinian officials have warned of the Israelis' escalation of tensions, especially after the formation of the new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is the most right-wing in Israeli history.