Residents of the Jenin refugee camp said that a combat chopper raid brought back the worst memories of the Second Intifada.
In its early-morning operation on Jenin on Monday, Israel utilized Apache attack helicopters in the occupied West Bank for the first time in more than 20 years. At least five Palestinians were killed and 91 were injured.
An Apache helicopter gunship shot in support of Israeli commandos after a Panther troop carrier was struck by an “unusual and dramatic” IED launched by Palestinian militants, according to an Israeli military spokesman.
Because of the heavy ordinance it carries and the fact that Israeli Apaches are not thought to have shot missiles within the occupied West Bank since 2002, during the Second Intifada, the employment of the US helicopter, produced by the aerospace corporation Boeing, is noteworthy.
The employment of highly armed attack helicopters in what is basically a civilian area, notwithstanding Israel’s regular use of airstrikes on Gaza, is a stark indication of escalating military aggressiveness on Israel’s part.
Israel’s frequent invasions into Jenin over the last year have contributed to the deterioration of the security situation in the occupied West Bank. The lengthy raid that began on Monday morning is thought to have injured at least eight Israeli soldiers.
Assem Abu al-Haija, a 36-year-old Hamas activist, was to be apprehended during the raid; he was located in the Jabriyat neighborhood on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city.
There have been rumors that Palestinian fighters in the Jenin refugee camp have acquired shoulder-launch anti-aircraft missiles after videos from the camp showed an attack helicopter firing flare.
In February 2002, an Israeli airstrike in Jenin’s refugee camp claimed the life of Wafa Jarrar’s cousin, a Palestinian living there.
For all of Jenin’s citizens, she said, “what happened today is not easy, especially for those who lost family members.”. “It evokes distressing memories from twenty years ago. On an emotional and psychological level, it is not at all simple.”
In 2002, Israel deployed Apache helicopters to the West Bank at least four times.
Survivors of the April 6, 2002 attack said how they determined the fire was from an Apache helicopter “because they could see the wires” guiding the missile.
One of the victims of the attack, a woman with a learning disability, was hit by an Apache helicopter missile fired directly into her room on the top floor of the building. Only civilians lived in the building.
Jarrah told reporters Monday’s raid and use of helicopter warships brought back memories of Israeli airstrikes. “Today they are trying to crush Jenin’s resistance by attacking us from the air,” she said.
She said it was an echo of a 2002 airstrike in which the Israeli military attempted to target the leader of an armed resistance group in Palestine. “The scale of the destruction was so great that entire neighborhoods were destroyed,” Jarrah told reporters.