Fiercest combating in years erupts in West Financial institution camp of Jenin, a minimum of 5 Palestinians killed



JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, West Financial institution — Israeli navy forces raided a refugee camp within the northern West Financial institution on Monday, igniting the fiercest day of combating in years as Palestinian militants detonated roadside bombs and Israeli helicopter gunships struck Palestinian gunmen to rescue troops trapped within the hourslong firefight.

No less than 5 Palestinians had been killed, together with a 15-year-old boy, and over 90 others had been wounded, Palestinian well being officers mentioned. Seven Israeli troopers had been additionally wounded, the military mentioned.

The Israeli navy mentioned forces stormed into the Jenin refugee camp within the early morning to arrest two needed militants. They confronted fierce resistance. Palestinian militants mentioned they ambushed Israeli armored automobiles with explosive gadgets, disabling a number of automobiles with troops trapped inside.

Israeli navy spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht described Palestinian militants’ use of a minimum of one highly effective roadside bomb as “very uncommon and dramatic.” 5 mangled automobiles had been caught within the firefight for hours, requiring the navy to dispatch helicopters as a part of an elaborate evacuation operation.

It was the primary such use of a helicopter gunship within the occupied West Financial institution for the reason that second Palestinian rebellion round 20 years in the past, Israeli media reported. The Jenin refugee camp, lengthy a militant stronghold, witnessed among the greatest battles on the time.

No less than one Apache helicopter fired missiles at Palestinian gunmen to attempt to clear the realm whereas safety forces labored to extract the trapped automobiles, the Israeli military mentioned. The native department of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad primarily based in Jenin mentioned its fighters opened fireplace on the fight helicopter. The group praised its fighters and warned Israel to “rethink its calculations earlier than its troopers set foot on Jenin’s land.”

The Israeli military mentioned that the Palestinian gunfire precipitated minor injury to the spinning tail rotor of a helicopter.

Witnesses described the practically 10 hours of combating as a bedlam of gunfire and explosions.

“They had been capturing at something and all the things that moved,” hospital director Tawfik al-Shobaki mentioned of Israeli forces.

Because the Israeli navy finally withdrew its broken automobiles from the camp within the late afternoon, Palestinians ventured out to evaluate the heavy injury and bury their useless.

The Palestinian Well being Ministry recognized these killed as Khaled Asasa, 21, Qassam Abu Sariya, 29, Qais Jabarin, 21, Ahmed Daraghmeh, 19, and 15-year-old Ahmed Saqr. Of the 91 Palestinians wounded, a minimum of 12 had been in crucial situation, hospital officers mentioned. Wissam Bakar, director of Jenin Authorities Hospital, mentioned a 15-year-old woman was among the many critically wounded.

Islamic Jihad claimed two of the useless as its fighters — Qais Jabarin and Qassam Abu Sariya.

A Palestinian cameraman, Hazem Nasser, carrying a clearly marked press vest, was amongst these severely wounded within the combating. His colleagues mentioned he was shot when a constructing — the place journalists had camped out to cowl the clashes — got here beneath Israeli fireplace.

“In fact there was loads of capturing and explosions, however everybody knew we had been journalists protecting it,” fellow freelance journalist Alaa Badarneh mentioned. “Impulsively we had been surrounded and the military began capturing towards us.”

An Related Press journalist on the scene mentioned that he noticed the navy shoot immediately at Nasser. The Israeli navy did not instantly reply to a request for touch upon the capturing.

Final yr, distinguished Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed whereas protecting an Israeli navy raid into the Jenin refugee camp. The military has mentioned Abu Akleh was doubtless killed by Israeli fireplace.

The Israeli navy mentioned that seven members of the paramilitary border police and the military suffered gentle and average wounds. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a go to to wounded troops within the hospital. He praised the forces and mentioned that Israel was “hanging terror with power and willpower.”

The Palestinian management and different Arab states sharply condemned the Israeli raid.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official, accused Israel of waging “a fierce and open struggle” in opposition to the Palestinian folks.

Egypt’s International Ministry denounced what it known as Israel’s “continued escalation in opposition to the Palestinians,” saying the violence undermined efforts to cut back regional tensions.

The escalation was the most recent in additional than a yr of near-daily violence that has wracked the West Financial institution.

Israel and the Palestinians have been gripped by months of violence, targeted primarily within the West Financial institution, the place 124 Palestinians have been killed this yr. The town of Jenin has been a hotbed of Palestinian militancy.

Israel captured the West Financial institution within the 1967 Mideast struggle, together with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians search these territories for a future impartial state.

Israel has been staging near-nightly raids within the West Financial institution in response to a spasm of Palestinian violence early final yr. Palestinian assaults in opposition to Israelis have surged throughout that point. Israel says many of the useless had been militants, however stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not concerned in confrontations have additionally been killed.

Palestinian assaults in opposition to Israelis have killed a minimum of 20 folks this yr.


Ben Zion reported from Jerusalem. Related Press author Isabel DeBre in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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