Five Palestinians killed, eight Israeli troops injured in fierce Jenin conflict; Apache engages in airstrikes

Intense skirmishes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants in the West Bank city of Jenin resulted in the demise of five Palestinians and injuries to eight members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Monday morning. The IDF deployed an Apache helicopter for a series of unprecedented airstrikes – the first in the region in nearly two decades – in a bid to evacuate the wounded soldiers from the combat zone following a roadside explosion targeting a military vehicle, according to official reports.

The IDF and Border Police issued a succinct joint statement, disclosing that they had entered Jenin in the early hours with the objective of apprehending two sought-after Palestinians. The statement further illuminated that the forces were engulfed in heavy gunfire, and assailants launched an assortment of explosive devices. The Israeli forces retaliated with live fire, resulting in several gunmen being struck.

The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry released a statement reporting that in addition to the five fatalities, approximately 91 individuals were wounded in the melee. The deceased were identified as Khaled Asasa (21), Qassam Abu Sariya (29), Qais Jabareen (21), Ahmed Daraghmeh (19), and Ahmed Saqr (15). Notably, at least 23 of the injured, including a young girl, were severely wounded.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad subsequently asserted that Abu Sariya, Jabareen, and Daraghmeh were affiliated with local factions in Jenin and the nearby town of Tubas.

The Jenin Battalion, a local arm of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for detonating explosive devices in proximity to IDF vehicles, which were subsequently assaulted with gunfire.

Visuals circulated by Palestinian media depicted an IDF vehicle enveloped in smoke following a roadside explosion. In subsequent footage, IDF vehicles were targeted with gunfire and a cacophony of gunshots and explosions could be discerned throughout the city.

The IDF and police released a separate communique revealing that eight personnel, comprising soldiers and Border Police officers, were injured in the conflict. Among them, three IDF soldiers sustained injuries – two moderate and one light. Of the five injured Border Police officers, two were moderate and three light. All were airlifted to various hospitals in Israel for treatment.

An Apache helicopter was deployed to launch missiles at areas where militants were identified, facilitating the evacuation of the injured soldiers.

Footage disseminated by Palestinian media demonstrated the helicopter deploying missiles and flares over Jenin, possibly in response to concerns regarding potential anti-aircraft missile attacks from the ground. This marked the first time since the early 2000s, during the Second Intifada, that airstrikes have been deployed in the West Bank.

The IDF reported that Palestinian militants fired upon the helicopter, causing slight damage to the tail rotor. This, however, did not impede the completion of the airstrike mission.

IDF spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, indicated that forces continued operations in Jenin for several hours to retrieve heavily damaged vehicles. He assured that the situation was under control and that a thorough investigation would ensue to draw lessons from the incidents.

Tensions in the region have been escalating for the past year, with frequent military incursions in the West Bank and a spate of deadly attacks. The raid on Monday marked the deadliest in Jenin since January.

Image Credit: Omri Greenberg on Unsplash

Tags : Israel