Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbors, the European Union and United Nations condemned the Israel Defense Forces’ incursion into the West Bank city of Jenin Monday, which resulted in deadly clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians.
Seven Palestinians were killed and nearly 100 were wounded during the IDF raid, after a massive roadside bomb was detonated against an army vehicle, leading to intense gun battles between troops and armed Palestinians. Eight IDF soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries in the clashes and blast. Three of the Palestinians killed have been confirmed as members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Two of the others were teens.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the operation, warning that “everyone will pay the price” for the violence.
Amman urged a cessation of Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank and called on the international community “to stop this aggression and provide protection to the Palestinian people in all the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Israel regularly conducts arrest operations in Palestinian cities, saying these are necessary to prevent terror attacks.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry slammed what it called “the Israeli escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories, the latest of which was the aggression in the city of Jenin…. which led to killing innocent victims and the injuries of others.”
Riyadh expressed condolences to the families of Palestinians killed in the clashes and hope for the recovery of the wounded.
The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry called on Israel “to reduce escalation and avoid steps that exacerbate tension and violence in the Palestinian territories,” while urging a resumption of a peace process.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the raid, specifically noting the “aerial bombardment” by a military helicopter — in what marked the first airstrike in the West Bank in some two decades. Evacuation of the Israeli troops wounded by the roadside detonation took place under the cover of Apache helicopter fire.
Cairo accused Israel of violating international law and warned of “the dangers of continued escalation against the Palestinian people.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry also “strongly condemned” the raid and urged Israel to “put an end to these unacceptable acts targeting Palestinian civilians, which could lead to a spiral of violence.”
Qatar’s foreign ministry labeled the clash as a “new episode in the chain of horrific occupation crimes against the defenseless Palestinian people.”
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply concerned” by the events, adding that “all sides must refrain from actions that would further escalate the situation and take steps to re-engage on a political path.”
A spokesperson for the European Union’s External Action Service also expressed concern over the operation and called on Israel not to proceed with further West Bank settlement construction.
France offered “condolences to the families of the civilian victims” in Jenin, and stressed “Israel’s obligation to abide by international humanitarian law, use proportionate force and ensure the imperative protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Israeli troops entered Jenin in the early morning hours of Monday to arrest two wanted suspects, the IDF and Border Police said in a statement, leading to intense gun battles that included the first use of a helicopter gunship in the West Bank in decades.
“During the activity, a massive exchange of fire took place between the forces and armed gunmen in the area. Large numbers of explosive devices were hurled at the forces. The forces responded with live fire,” the statement said, adding that several suspects were hit.
Later on Tuesday, four Israelis were killed and four injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire on civilians at a gas station and an adjacent restaurant outside the central West Bank settlement of Eli.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides issued two separate condemnations of the terror shooting, after criticism by Israelis that his initial statement drew a false equivalency between the victims of the attack in Eli and Palestinians killed in Jenin.
Wennesland also condemned the attack in Eli.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.