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Israeli air strike in West Bank kills three Palestinian fighters

By Raneen Sawafta

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and wounded another in an air strike in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday, the Palestine health ministry said, in what Israel's military said was an operation targeting Palestinian militants.

The Israeli military said an aircraft struck four Palestinian fighters in a car in the Jenin area, among them two senior Islamic Jihad members who had led attacks on Israelis.

Mahmoud Ghrayyeb, a resident of the Jenin refugee camp who said he witnessed the incident through a surveillance camera, said the strike hit the car around 5:37 p.m. when traffic was busy ahead of iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"We saw limbs flying onto the street," he said. "A man and his wife were in another car driving past, they were saved by a miracle."

Footage from Ghrayyeb's CCTV, shared with Reuters, showed a car on a busy road suddenly engulfed by a flame and veering off. Another car that was seen approaching from the opposite direction then stops and retreats.

As night fell, firefighters arrived at the scene and people inspected the car, seen burned down to the frame.

Since the Gaza war broke out in October, Israel has stepped up military raids in the West Bank, where violence had already been surging for over a year. U.N. records show that at least 358 Palestinians have been killed there by Israeli forces or settlers since Oct. 7, a quarter of them children.

Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are among territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and where some Palestinians have taken up arms to resist Israeli military rule.

(Reporting by Raneen Sawafta; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Henriette Chacar; Editing by James Mackenzie and William Maclean)