Conflicts & War

5 killed, dozens wounded during Israeli raid in West Bank

(Update: raises death toll, minor edits)

Jerusalem, Jun 19 (EFE).- At least five Palestinians were killed and over 90 were wounded on Monday during an Israeli military operation in the West Bank.

Seven Israeli soldiers were also wounded during the raid in Jenin.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 15-year-old was among those killed, while 23 of the wounded were in a serious condition, including a young girl.

Although Israeli operations in the West Bank have been carried out almost daily for more than a year, Monday’s was particularly violent and prolonged, with gunfire lasting for nine hours.

An Israeli Army spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the military operation in Jenin was aimed to “arrest two suspects.”

“During the operation, a massive exchange of fire took place between the forces and armed militiamen. A large number of explosive devices were thrown at the (Israeli) forces. The forces responded with live fire,” he said. “Several suspects were hit.”

“When the security forces were leaving the city, a military vehicle was hit by an explosive device, damaging the vehicle,” it added.

The Jenin Battalion, which brings together different Palestinian factions in the refugee camp, confirmed that their militiamen responded “to the aggression of the occupation.”

The official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that for the first time since 2002, an Israeli Apache warplane bombed an area in the Jabriyat neighborhood of Jenin.

Footage released by Israeli media showed an area close to a building being struck several times by helicopter missiles, the first such airstrike in the West Bank in nearly two decades.

In the early 2000s, during the Second Intifada, the Israeli forces used attack helicopters in the West Bank more frequently, but only under special circumstances.

Wafa added that Israeli forces also arrested 14 Palestinians during the operation in various neighborhoods of the occupied West Bank.

Eyewitnesses told Wafa that Israeli soldiers also broke into the home of suspect Musab al-Barmaki in the Jabriyat neighborhood of Jenin, using its residents as a human shield.

Meanwhile, the Red Crescent emergency services denounced that the Israeli forces have attacked their two ambulances with live bullets.

“An Israeli military vehicle intentionally collided with an ambulance from the front,” it said, adding the Israeli forces also “prevented ambulances from reaching the victims in Jenin.”

According to Wafa, the Palestinian Cabinet “strongly condemned” the operation, which Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called a “massacre”.

“The international silence and double standards encourage the Israeli government to practice more killing, destruction and intimidation against our people, and as long as the Israel forces, the occupying power, will not be held accountable for their crimes, such aggression and assault will continue,” it said in a statement.

This year has been the deadliest in the Palestine-Israel conflict since the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005. EFE


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