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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Massacre in Jenin, UN Says in Report

UNITED NATIONS -- A UN report on Israel's assault on the Jenin refugee camp rejected on Thursday Palestinian charges of a massacre but faulted the Jewish state for endangering civilians by using heavy weaponry in densely populated areas and keeping out aid workers.

Palestinians, too, came under criticism in the report, which said 200 armed Palestinian fighters had used the West Bank camp as a base.

The report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan avoided the word "massacre" altogether and dismissed Arab claims that hundreds of Palestinians died in Jenin during Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, launched March 29 after a wave of suicide bombings in Israel. The heaviest fighting was in Jenin.

"A senior Palestinian Authority official alleged in mid-April that some 500 were killed [in Jenin], a figure that has not been substantiated in light of the evidence that has emerged," the report said.

The report said 52 Palestinians died in Jenin, as many as half of them civilians, while Israel lost 23 soldiers there.

But 497 Palestinians died between March 1 and May 7 in the course of the Israeli incursion into Palestinian cities and towns including Jenin, the report said, citing UN figures. Another 1,447 were wounded, including 538 live ammunition injuries, the report said, citing local health authorities.

Palestinian officials had no immediate comment on the report. Israel said it cleared up "misconceptions" that there had been a massacre.

"We understand the report is absolutely categorical, there was no massacre and statements by the Palestinian leadership talking about hundreds of civilians that were killed were nothing more than atrocity propaganda," said Daniel Taub, a senior Foreign Ministry official.

Israel declined to provide any information for the report. Material was supplied by the Palestinian Authority, UN agencies, human rights and aid groups and U.S. Jewish organizations.

Four Americans, a Frenchman and two Israelis were killed in Wednesday's bomb attack that injured more than 80 at a crowded cafeteria at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, U.S. and French officials said Thursday.

The militant group Hamas said it carried out the attack to avenge an Israeli air strike in Gaza last week that killed its military leader and 14 others.