During a raid on Monday in the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops were responsible for the deaths of four Palestinians, one of whom was a terrorist. Seven Israeli security officers were also injured during the operation, which also witnessed uncommon helicopter fire.
An AFP correspondent reported hearing the sound of gunshots throughout Jenin as wounded Palestinians continued to arrive by ambulance at the Ibn Sina hospital in the city during the early afternoon hours. Jenin is located in the northern part of the West Bank.
According to reports from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 62 persons have been injured in addition to the four fatalities that have been reported.
According to a statement released by the ministry, Ahmed Saqer, who was just 15 years old, was one of those who passed away.
Khaled Assassa, age 21, and Qassam Abu Saria, age 29, were named as two of the additional victims in the attack.
Abu Saria was identified as a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a statement released by the terrorist organization.
According to Kamal Abu al-Rub, the deputy governor of Jenin, who spoke with AFP, the Israeli soldiers began their raid at about 0100 GMT or 4:00 local time.
“After the dawn prayer, the army stormed the (Jenin refugee) camp and the city in large numbers, and there was intense gunfire,” he added. “The refugees were fleeing for their lives.”
At 11:25 am local time (2:25 pm GMT), an AFP correspondent verified that combat was still taking place.
An armored vehicle was damaged by a “very unusual and dramatic” explosive device, according to the Israeli army, at around 7:10 am (0410 GMT), during “routine activity” to capture two “wanted suspects.” One of the “wanted suspects” was linked with the Islamist organisation Hamas, while the other was affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
“We had five Israeli border police guys injured, and two soldiers were also lightly wounded,” said army spokesperson Richard Hecht. After that moment, it was necessary for us to remove our injured.
In the early afternoon, he provided further clarification by saying, “It will take a few hours, it is going to be pretty harsh, there is a lot of fire.”
According to the army, an Apache chopper provided assistance for the soldiers by firing missiles, which is an unusual tactic to use in the West Bank.
A Palestinian journalist who had been hurt in the conflict was also seen by an AFP photographer who was working in Jenin and who observed a helicopter firing two missiles.
Under the condition of anonymity, a Palestinian intelligence officer revealed to AFP that this was the first time since 2002, during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, that the Israeli army has launched missiles from an airplane during a raid in Jenin.
Volker Turk, who is in charge of human rights at the United Nations, expressed that he was “extremely worried by the deteriorating situation.”
He continued by saying, “There has been an increase in the unlawful killing of Palestinians by Israeli security forces, including what appear to be executions without due process.”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has seen an increase in violence over the course of the previous year, which coincides with the advent of a more conservative administration led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who entered office in December.
Mai al-Kaila, the Palestinian minister of health, issued a statement in which she demanded the “urgent” shipment of blood and medical supplies to the city of Jenin.
According to the minister of civil affairs for the Palestinian Authority, Hussein al-Sheikh, “a fierce and open war is being waged against the Palestinian people… by the occupation (Israeli) forces.”
He did not elaborate but urged for “unprecedented decisions” to be made by the Palestinian leadership.
Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Minister of Defense, issued the following statement as the operation was being carried out: “We will use all of the tools at our disposal and strike terrorists wherever they may be.”
Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has maintained its occupation of the West Bank, and its soldiers often conduct incursions into Palestinian communities, even though these cities are ostensibly under the administration of the Palestinian Authority, which is led by President Mahmud Abbas.
Jenin and its neighboring refugee camp, which was besieged by the army in 2002 and saw deadly combat, have regularly been the location of violent incidents between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2002, the army surrounded Jenin and the fighting that took place there resulted in fatalities.
In March, a raid on the camp resulted in the deaths of four Palestinians who were living there.
In January, there was another operation that took place in the camp, which resulted in the deaths of ten Palestinians. At the time, this was the worst single raid that had taken place in the West Bank in the previous 20 years. The next month saw an incursion into Nablus that resulted in the deaths of 11 Palestinians.
According to a count obtained by AFP from official sources, at least 163 Palestinians, 21 Israelis, a Ukrainian, and an Italian have been murdered in violence connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the beginning of the year. In addition, an Italian and a Ukrainian have been injured.
The numbers comprise both military personnel and civilians; on the Israeli side, they also include three members of a small Arab ethnic group.