JENIN: Zionist forces in the occupied West Bank killed five Palestinians including a militant on Monday, in a raid that saw eight Zionist security personnel wounded and rare helicopter fire. Palestinian authorities reported “intense gunfire” by Zionist forces in what the army described as “routine activity” in which an armored vehicle was said to have been hit by a “dramatic” explosion. The Palestinian health ministry said five people had been killed and at least 91 others were wounded in the violence.
It identified those killed as 15-year-old Ahmed Saqer, as well as Khaled Assassa, 21, Qais Jabareen, 21, Ahmad Daraghmeh, 19, and Qassam Abu Saria, 29. Among the injured was Palestinian journalist Hazem Nasser, who was hospitalized with a gunshot wound, according to the Palestinian journalists syndicate. The sound of gunfire was heard across Jenin as wounded Palestinians continued to arrive by ambulance to the northern West Bank city’s Ibn Sina hospital into the early afternoon, an AFP journalist said.
Crowds, among them Palestinian gunmen, gathered outside a government hospital in Jenin for the funerals of those killed in 11 hours of fighting. Jenin’s deputy governor, Kamal Abu Al-Rub, told AFP the Zionist forces had launched the raid at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT). “The army stormed the (Jenin refugee) camp and the city after the dawn prayer in large numbers, and there was intense gunfire,” he said. Jenin camp resident Bassem Talib, 38, said he “woke up to the sounds of gunfire at 4:15 in the morning”. “The army targeted anything that moved… there is no safety,” he said. An AFP journalist at the scene said Zionist forces withdrew from Jenin at around 15:10 (1210 GMT).
The Zionist army said an armored vehicle had been hit by a “very unusual and dramatic” explosive device at around 7:10 am (0410 GMT), during “routine activity” to arrest two “wanted suspects” — one affiliated with Islamist movement Hamas and the other with Islamic Jihad. The army said an Apache helicopter had fired missiles in support of the soldiers. A Palestinian intelligence official told AFP on condition of anonymity it was the first time since 2002 – during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising — that the Zionist army has fired missiles from an aircraft during a raid in Jenin. United Nations rights chief Volker Turk said he was “extremely worried by the deteriorating situation”.
“Unlawful killings of Palestinians by the (Zionist) security forces have increased, including apparent extrajudicial executions,” he added. Palestinian health minister Mai Al-Kaila called for the “urgent” dispatch of blood and medical supplies to Jenin. Hussein Al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s civil affairs minister, said a “fierce and open war is being waged against the Palestinian people… by the occupation (Zionist) forces”. The raid came as the US State Department’s top Middle East official, Barbara Leaf, was in Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian leadership.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Islamic Jihad chief Ziyad Al-Nakhalah were also in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders Monday. The Zionist entity has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War and its forces regularly launch incursions into Palestinian cities, which are nominally under the control of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp — which was besieged by the army in 2002 and saw deadly fighting — have frequently been the site of violent clashes between the Zionist entity and the Palestinians. In March, four Palestinians were killed during a raid on the camp. Ten Palestinians were killed in another operation in the camp in January—at the time the deadliest single raid in the West Bank for 20 years. An incursion into Nablus the following month killed 11 Palestinians. – AFP