Israeli Attack Helicopters Strike in Massive West Bank For the First Time Since 2002:
In the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, a major gun battle between Israeli troops and militants resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians, including a minor, and left at least 29 others injured, according to Palestinian officials. The clash involved the uncommon use of Israeli attack helicopters in the area.
This incident represents the latest escalation in over a year of almost daily violence that has deeply affected the West Bank.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the deceased as Khaled Asasa (21), Qassam Abu Sariya (29), and 15-year-old Ahmed Saqr. Additionally, at least six individuals sustained severe injuries during the shootout.
According to the Israeli military, troops fired upon during an arrest operation in Jenin, prompting them to retaliate against the Palestinian gunmen. Israeli media reported multiple injuries among Israeli troops during the fighting.
As the security forces were exiting the city, a military vehicle struck by an explosive device, resulting in damage. In response, helicopters opened fire on the gunmen to support the safe withdrawal of the forces, as stated by the army.
Unverified amateur video footage from Jenin seemed to show an explosion targeting an Israeli armored vehicle. Another video posted online appeared to depict an Israeli military helicopter launching a rocket during the ongoing army operation.
The Israeli military rarely employs aircraft in its operations in the occupied West Bank, and Israeli media reported that this was the first instance of an attack helicopter being use in the territory since the Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.
Israel and the Palestinians have been grappling with months of violence, primarily concentrated in the West Bank, where approximately 120 Palestinians have lost their lives this year. Jenin has been a focal point of Palestinian militancy.
In response to a surge in Palestinian violence early last year, Israel has been conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank. The majority of the casualties, according to Israel, have been militants. However, there have also been instances where non-confrontational individuals, including youths engaged in stone-throwing protests against the incursions, have been killed.