Police footage shows moment troops targeted by Jenin roadside bomb, rescue operation

‘Guys, calm down, we just drove over an explosive device,’ commander says over radio; 7 soldiers were hurt in blast targeting APC in West Bank city

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Police on Friday published footage from an operation in the West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week, during which Israeli troops were targeted by a large roadside bomb.

The explosive device heavily damaged a Panther armored personnel carrier (APC) and caused seven soldiers and Border Police officers light-to-moderate injuries. Gunmen affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group opened fire at the disabled vehicle as the army worked to evacuate the wounded troops to hospitals. Seven Palestinians were killed and nearly 100 were wounded, as was another IDF soldier, in subsequent clashes.

The footage published by police showed the moment the bomb went off under the APC.

“Guys, calm down, we just drove over an explosive device… we need an immediate evacuation,” the commander of the forces, Chief Inspector “Mem” — who can only be identified by his rank and first initial in Hebrew — is heard saying over the radio.

The video then cuts to headcam footage of Chief Inspector “Resh” — a senior officer in the Border Police’s West Bank undercover unit — and Master Sgt. “Daled” — the unit’s paramedic — showing the pair opening fire as they rush into a vehicle, taking them to the APC that was targeted by the roadside bomb.

Once reaching the disabled APC, the Border Police officers exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen in the area, as they worked to extract the wounded troops, the video showed.

Smoke billows from the aftermath of the detonation of a Palestinian explosive charge on an Israeli armored vehicle during an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the West Bank on June 19, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

During the operation in Jenin on Monday, an Apache helicopter launched missiles at an area where gunmen were identified in order to allow for the evacuation of the wounded troops.

They were the first airstrikes in the West Bank in some two decades. In the early 2000s, during the Second Intifada, the IDF used attack helicopters in the West Bank, but only in special circumstances and not as a matter of routine.

The military said Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the Apache helicopter, causing minor damage to the tail rotor, whereupon a malfunction forced the chopper to land in a field in northern Israel. The impacts, however, did not prevent the chopper from carrying out the strikes. The IDF said the landing was not considered an emergency landing, and it was flown back to its usual base after the issue was fixed.

An Israeli Air Force AH-64 Apache attack helicopter flies over during an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the West Bank on June 19, 2023. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

The IDF had initially entered Jenin to detain two wanted Palestinians. The military spent hours in the city working to tow the damaged APC out.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing, and said three of the Palestinians killed in the clashes were members.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year and a half, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 24 people.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 132 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

There has also been a noted rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months, especially following a deadly terror attack on Tuesday in the West Bank.

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