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West Bank: Several Palestinians killed in Israeli raid

Published June 19, 2023last updated June 19, 2023

An Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin has killed five Palestinians and wounded at least 91 others. Israeli helicopters opened fire on gunmen in a rare Israeli Air Force operation in the area.

Israeli raid in Jenin
Israeli armored vehicles were attacked with improvised explosive devices in Jenin as Israeli soldiers left the area after the raidImage: Nedal Eshtayah/AA/picture alliance

At least five Palestinians, including a 15-year-old, were killed in a large Israeli military operation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian health authorities said on Monday. The raid marked a rare use of Israeli airpower in the territory.

At least 91 Palestinians were injured, 12 of them seriously, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.  Israeli media reported that several Israeli soldiers were also hurt.

The Israeli army said a "massive exchange of fire" erupted as forces entered the northern West Bank city to arrest two wanted suspects. A "large number" of explosive devices were also thrown at the soldiers, it said.

"The forces responded with live fire. Hits were identified," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

The IDF added that "helicopters opened fire toward the gunmen in order to assist in extraction of the forces." An Israeli military vehicle was damaged in an explosion as it exited the city, the IDF said.

Israeli raid in Jenin
A Palestinian gunman fires a weapon during clashes with Israeli troops in Jenin on June 19Image: Raneen Sawafta/REUTERS

Israeli media reported that it was the first use of an attack helicopter in the territory since the early 2000s.

EU urges halt to new settlements

The European Union said it was "strongly concerned" over the deadly events in Jenin, saying they have caused "several civilian casualties."

"Military operations must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law," the EU's foreign affairs office said in a statement.

The EU also voiced concern over Israel's plans to build more than 4,000 settlement units in the occupied West Bank at the end of the month, calling for a halt to the plans.

"The EU calls on Israel not to proceed with this," the statement read.

Clashes in Jenin

A refugee camp in Jenin has regularly been the scene of violence and Israeli military raids as it has become a stronghold for militant Palestinian factions. Ten Palestinians were killed in a raid on the camp in January and four more were killed in March.

The violence was the latest in more than a year of near-daily clashes in the West Bank. Since the beginning of this year, 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. In the same period, 18 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other territories, during the 1967, six-day-long Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinians seek those territories for their own future state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But talks on this issue between the two sides have been frozen since 2014. 

dh/nm (AP, AFP, dpa)

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