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Three Palestinians killed in Israeli West Bank raid with helicopter fire

JENIN, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES (AFP) – Israeli forces yesterday killed three Palestinians including a teenager and fired missiles from a helicopter during a raid on the occupied West Bank which the army said was to pursue “wanted suspects”.

“Three Palestinians died as a result of the occupation (Israeli) aggression on Jenin,” a statement from the Palestinian Health Ministry said, adding that at least 29 others were wounded.

The Israeli army said a “massive exchange of fire” erupted as forces entered the northern West Bank city to arrest “wanted suspects”.

“IDF (army) helicopters opened fire in order to assist in extraction of the forces” after “large numbers of explosive devices were hurled at the forces”, it added in a statement.

The army said a military vehicle had been damaged by an explosive device. 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 Israeli army has fired missiles from an aircraft during a raid in Jenin.

An AFP photographer in the city, the scene of frequent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, confirmed that fighting was ongoing as of 10.30am. Jenin’s Deputy Governor Kamal Abu al-Rub, told AFP the Israeli forces had launched the raid at around 4am.

“The army stormed the (Jenin refugee) camp and the city after the dawn prayer in large numbers, and there was intense gunfire,” he said.

Palestinian Authority’s Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, said a “fierce and open war is being waged against the Palestinian people… by the occupation (Israeli) forces”. He called for the Palestinian leadership to take “unprecedented decisions” without elaborating. Israel 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 Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

An explosive charge detonates before an Israeli armoured vehicle during an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. PHOTO: AFP