Six Palestinians, one Israeli police officer killed in West Bank clash

Six Palestinians, one Israeli police officer killed in West Bank clash

RAMALLAH (Reuters/AFP): Israeli aircraft fired on Palestinian militants who had attacked troops in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the military said, and officials said six Palestinians were killed in the air strike.

An Israeli border police officer was killed and others wounded when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device during operations in the West Bank city of Jenin, the military and police said.

A helicopter helped rescue them with covering fire, the military said, adding that an aircraft fired at a “terrorist squad that hurled explosives and endangered our forces, a number of terrorists were killed.”

The Palestinian health ministry said six Palestinians were killed in the strike that it said had targeted people who had gathered at the site. Four of those killed were brothers, according to family members.

“One of the martyrs was decapitated,” Mujahid Nazzal, a Palestin-ian doctor and first responder at the scene, told Reuters. “It seemed the missile directly hit him. Others had their limbs sev-ered. A seventh person was seriously injured and taken by the ambulance.”

Another witness, Ahmed Suleiman, said, “The air strike happened at the entrance of Jenin in an area called Martyr’s Triangle. You can see the effects of the missile. Blood and body parts scattered everywhere.”

The strike came as by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits the region.

He started his week-long trip on Saturday, aimed at calming tension that has spiked since Israel’s war with Hamas, which began after Hamas fighters attacked Israel three months ago, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed 22,700 Palestinians, Palestinian officials say, and the conflict has spilled into the West Bank, Lebanon, and Red Sea shipping lanes.

The West Bank had already experienced its highest levels of unrest in decades during the 18 months before the October 7 attack on Israel, but confrontations have risen sharply as Israeli forces launched an invasion of Gaza.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers over the past weeks and security forces have made thousands of arrests.

Blinken’s tour, which started with meetings with the leaders of Turkey and Greece, will take him to several Arab states as well as Israel and the occupied West Bank.

At least 327 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the conflict broke out, according to a count by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.

The town of Jenin and its refugee camp have been the scene of repeated Israeli raids.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War in 1967.