'Biggest Israeli raid on Jenin in years' kills five Palestinians with helicopters bombing West Bank for 'first time since Second Intifada'

'Biggest Israeli raid on Jenin in years' kills five Palestinians with helicopters bombing West Bank for 'first time since Second Intifada'
Israel launched a huge military raid on Jenin in the West Bank on Monday that included the use of military helicopters., killing five people.
4 min read
West Bank
19 June, 2023
Jenin woke up on Monday to the biggest Israeli assault 'in years' [Getty-file photo]

Israel on Monday launched its biggest raid on Jenin in years, with five Palestinians, including a child, killed in the assault, which included the alleged use of military helicopters to bomb targets in the West Bank, for the first time in more than two decades.

The Palestinian health ministry named the victims of the assault as Ahmad Yousef Saqer, 15, Khaled Azam Asaasah, 21, Qais Majdi Adel Jabareen, also aged 21, Ahmed Khaled Fayez Daraghmeh, 19, and 29-year-old Qassam Faysal Abu Sariyeh.

At least 45 other residents of Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank were wounded in the assault, with hospitals in Jenin city treating 15 Palestinians for bullet wounds, including two with critical injuries.

A young girl was hit in the head with a bullet while three others were wounded in the face by fragments of bullets or grenades.

The ministry said 38 injured were being treated at Jenin Government Hospital, with five of them being in a serious condition.

In a significant development, local media sources and residents confirmed that Israeli forces used military helicopters to bomb targets in Jenin during their withdrawal from the city.

If confirmed this would be the first time Israel has bombed the West Bank from the air since the Second Intifada more than 20 years ago.

Israeli forces raided the camp before sunrise and were confronted by Palestinian fighters shortly after, witnesses said.

"Occupation forces concentrated their armoured vehicles on the outskirts of the camp, as they were confronted by fighters who engaged them with explosive devices and gunfire," Atta Abu Rmeileh, a local Fatah secretary at Jenin camp told The New Arab amid the sound of gunfire.

Explosive devices hit Israeli military vehicles causing some injuries to soldiers, locals reported, with the attackers opening fire indiscriminately, Abu Rmeileh added.

"The occupation forces are shooting at anything moving in their sights, and the number of wounded spiked really fast in the first minutes of the raid, which is the biggest we have seen in years," he added.

The relative of 21-year-old Khaled Asaasah, who was killed in the assault, told The New Arab that the young man threw stones at the soldiers but wasn't armed.

"His father had left early to work inside Israel in construction with other men, and he learned about Khaled's death on the phone, so he rushed back to the camp," said the relative. "Now he and his wife are in a state of shock and prefer not to talk."

Mostafa Shita, the director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, told TNA that one of their students, a 15-year-old girl, was hit in the shoulder by an Israeli bullet.

"The general atmosphere in the camp is one of confusion," noted Shita.

"People are euphoric that fighters are now able to confront raiding forces and push them away, but on the other hand there is a general sense of loss and rage that happens every time [Israeli] raids kill someone, especially someone so young," he added.

The Jenin Brigade, the local armed Palestinian group attached to Palestinian Islamic Jihad - PIJ, said in a statement through Telegram that its fighters ambushed Israeli forces in Jenin camp with explosives and gunfire.

While the Israeli army has not yet issued an official statement on the assault, the Israeli Walla news website said that five soldiers were wounded in confrontations with Palestinian fighters.

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Israeli media said the assault aimed at capturing the son of a Palestinian leader detained in Israeli jails. 

Israeli raids in the West Bank have claimed the lives of 167 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023, 42 of them in Jenin.

This article has been updated due to the increasing death toll.