The Israeli army said the air attacks on Gaza – one of the most densely populated areas in the world - followed after two rockets were fired towards Israel last night.

Fire and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Fire and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (AP)

Israel has launched air strikes on besieged Gaza, a day after Israeli forces killed ten Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, as tensions escalate. 

Israel said it had carried out at least two rounds of strikes targeting Hamas, which governs the enclave, after reportedly a rocket was fired toward southern Israel.

No group has claimed responsibility for the reported rocket fire.

Witnesses and local media reported that Israeli drones fired two missiles at targets in Gaza before fighter jets struck, causing four large explosions.

The bloodiest day in the occupied West Bank in years erupted during a raid on Thursday on the crowded refugee camp in the northern city of Jenin, where gunshots rang through the streets and smoke billowed from burning barricades.

Since its records began in 2005, the United Nations has never logged such a high death toll in a single operation in the occupied territory.

READ MORE: 10 Palestinians killed in deadliest Israeli raid in West Bank in 20 years

Concerns of escalating violence

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said he feared the security situation could worsen after the killings in Jenin.

The top US diplomat is set to travel to the Middle East on Sunday to discuss the situation, with a visit planned to Egypt, Israel and the occupied West Bank.

On Thursday, the United States said it was seeking information from Israel after civilians were killed during the raid in Jenin, the top State Department official for the Middle East, Barbara Leaf, said.

Briefing reporters by phone ahead of a trip to the region by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Leaf said US officials had been seeking understanding of the incident and urging de-escalation, describing the civilian casualties as "regrettable".

The Israeli military also fatally shot a 22-year-old Palestinian later in the day.

Thousands flocked to funerals in Jenin, as the Palestinian presidency announced three days of mourning.

It charged that Thursday's raid was happening "under international silence".

Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas had decided to cut security coordination in “light of the repeated aggression against our people." 

He also said the Palestinians planned to file complaints with the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court and other international bodies.

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Blinken's trip, the second by a senior US national security official this month, had already been expected to be fraught with tension over disagreements between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly on Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.

Thursday's raid and the subsequent outcry are expected to make the visit even more difficult.

The United Arab Emirates, China and France have asked the UN Security Council to meet behind closed doors on Friday over the violence, diplomats said.

UN peace envoy Tor Wennesland said he was "deeply alarmed and saddened by the continuing cycle of violence in the occupied West Bank".

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Blinken won't meet controversial Israeli politicians 

Israel's new national security minister, far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to grant legal immunity to Israeli soldiers who shoot Palestinians, posted a video of himself beaming triumphantly and congratulating troops after West Bank raid.

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The Biden administration has serious concerns over the composition of Netanyahu's government that includes several far-right Israeli politicians who are opposed to some of the administration's fundamental Mideast policies, including a two-state resolution to the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict.

Like Sullivan, Blinken does not plan to meet with the most controversial of those Cabinet members, according to US officials.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies