Israel-Hamas conflict: IDF carries out airstrike on underground complex at Al-Ansar mosque in Jenin

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday (October 22, 2023) said that it carried out an airstrike on an underground complex located under the Al-Ansar mosque in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Families flee their shattered homes in Tal al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza city. Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

The IDF said the site was used by members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.

"In a joint IDF and ISA [Israel Securities Authority] activity, the IDF conducted an aerial strike on an underground terror compound in the Al-Ansar mosque in Jenin," the IDF said on Telegram.

"The mosque contained a terror cell of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror operatives who were organizing an imminent terror attack," it added.

The mosque was used "by the terrorists as a command center to plan the attacks and as a base for their execution".

Meanwhile, the protection of civilians must be upheld at all times, the head of the UN agency that assists Palestine refugees, UNRWA, said on Saturday, appealing for an end to attacks on places such as schools, hospitals and the homes of his staff.

“Let me be clear: protecting civilians in times of conflict is not an aspiration or an ideal; it is an obligation and a commitment to our shared humanity,” UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.

Relentless air strikes and bombardments, coupled with evacuation orders from Israel, have displaced nearly one million people in Gaza, he said. Many civilians have been killed and injured.