(Reuters) – An Israeli airstrike killed six Palestinians in Jenin, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Sunday, as clashes continued in the occupied West Bank during a visit to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken .
The strike targeted a gathering of citizens in Jenin, the Health Ministry added in a brief statement. Official Palestinian television said four brothers were among the dead.
Blinken began his week-long trip on Saturday, aimed at easing tensions that have risen since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in October. Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed 22,700 Palestinians, Palestinian officials say, and the conflict has spread to shipping lanes in the West Bank, Lebanon and the Red Sea.
The West Bank had already experienced its highest levels of unrest in decades in the 18 months before the October 7 attack on Israel, but clashes sharply intensified when Israeli forces launched an invasion of Gaza.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers in recent weeks and security forces have made thousands of arrests.
Blinken’s tour, which began with meetings with Turkish and Greek leaders, will take him to several Arab states as well as Israel and the occupied West Bank.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; writing by Hatem Maher; editing by William Mallard and Clarence Fernandez)
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