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IDF calls in air support to extract wounded soldiers from Jenin

Five Palestinian terrorists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded during an Israeli counterterror operation in the city.

An IDF armored vehicle convoy hit by a roadside bomb in Jenin, June 19, 2023. Source: Twitter
An IDF armored vehicle convoy hit by a roadside bomb in Jenin, June 19, 2023. Source: Twitter

Israeli helicopter gunships struck targets in the Jenin area on Monday morning, after a deadly gun battle erupted during an IDF counterterror raid in the city.

The strikes came after five Palestinian gunmen were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded during clashes that erupted during the raid.

“Combat helicopters fired in the area of ​​​​the city of Jenin after identifying armed men,” the IDF said in a statement.

Israeli troops entered the city on Monday morning to arrest two wanted terrorists. During the raid, the Israeli forces came under “massive” Palestinian fire, according to the IDF. Five Palestinian gunmen were killed in the ensuing battle, according to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry.

The IDF did not confirm the casualties, saying only that “hits were identified.”

The gunmen were identified by Palestinian sources as Khaled Azaaza, 21; Ahmed Zakar, 15; Kassam Abu Saria, 29; and Qais Jabereen, 21. The fifth terrorist was not identified.

Then, as Israeli forces withdrew from the city with their prisoners, a roadside bomb detonated next to one of the troops’ armored vehicles, wounding seven, according to the IDF.

Two soldiers and two Border Police officers were moderately wounded, while one soldier and three Border Police were lightly wounded.

The wounded forces were reportedly airlifted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

The Apache gunships were called in to support the soldiers’ evacuation, after the rescue helicopter came under fire, according to the IDF.

It was the first Israeli airstrike in Judea and Samaria since the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, according to Kan News.

Fighting in Jenin was ongoing as of early Monday afternoon.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, speaking from the Paris Air Show where he was participating in the opening of Israel’s national pavilion, wished a speedy recovery to the wounded soldiers, who “showed courage and professionalism in the face of heavy fire.”

Israel will continue to take an uncompromising approach to fighting terrorism, Gallant said.

“We will continue to fight terrorism proactively. We will use all the tools at our disposal and strike terrorists wherever they may be. Terrorists will not find a safe haven—not in Jenin, not in Nablus and not in Gaza,” he said.

Other Israeli government leaders weighed in on the Jenin operation, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praising the security forces for “risking their lives and fighting against vile terrorists for hours and demonstrating determination against the enemy.”

Ben-Gvir added: “I pray for the recovery of the wounded fighters, with the entire nation of Israel behind you.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also wished a speedy recovery to the wounded forces, offering support for the security forces, “who work continuously and fight terrorism hard so that the citizens of Israel can sleep peacefully at night.”

The Palestinian Authority condemned the Jenin raid during a Cabinet meeting in Ramallah.

“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,” the Cabinet said, as reported by the P.A.’s Wafa news agency.

“Our people will confront such aggression,” the Cabinet added. “All ministries are ready to provide what is needed to support our people in Jenin.”

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