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Jenin is a predominantly Palestinian city with a refugee camp in the northern part of the West Bank (Samaria). It overlooks both the Jordan Valley to the east, and the Jezreel Valley to the north. Jenin is the site of the ancient Israelite village of En Gannim (See also: Anem), and it is still not a large town. It has a population of a few tens of thousands. In particular, one of the city's quarters is a officially a United Nations refugee camp housing mostly the descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It has long been a center of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jenin was the center of civil unrest during the Great Uprising of Palestinians in the years 1936-1939; in particular, it was the base of the pioneer of Arab guerilla, Sheikh Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam (the Hamas military wing is named after him). It was also used by Qawquji's partisans guerillas.
In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the city was occupied by Iraqi forces, then captured briefly by forces of Israeli Karmeli Brigade during the "10 Days' fighting" following the cancellation of the first cease-fire. The offensive was actually a feint designed to draw Arab forces away from the critical Siege of Jerusalem and gains in that sector were quickly abandoned when Arab reinforcements arrived.
The city was returned by Israel to the control of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. It is believed that radical Islamist elements quickly returned to the city. For a while they were silenced by the Palestinian Authority, but they were never openly acted against. At the start of the Second Intifada, the city allegedly became a central source for the dispatching of suicide bombers to the North and Center of Israel. According to Israeli sources, a quarter of all suicide bombings carried out in Israel during the current, second Intifada originated in Jenin. See Palestinian terrorism for an in-depth discussion of this broader issue.
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