June 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Deploys Helicopter to West Bank Clash

June 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Deploys Helicopter to West Bank Clash

Latest Developments

Israel deployed an IDF helicopter to support the extrication of troops hit by a roadside bomb during a counter-terrorism raid in the West Bank on June 19. The rare aerial intervention followed ferocious resistance to a combined army and police commando unit sent to Jenin to arrest Palestinian terrorists, the latest operation in an Israeli security sweep of the northern West Bank dating back 15 months.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen fired on the force, threw pipe bombs, and set off an improvised explosive device that disabled one of its armored vehicles. Seven Israeli personnel were wounded. During their evacuation and the extrication of the vehicle, an Apache helicopter gunship provided cover by launching a missile at an open area, the military said. The helicopter strike is a first in the West Bank since the Second Intifada.

Expert Analysis

“Israel has not used helicopter gunships for West Bank strikes since the Second Intifada, which ended in 2005. Today’s Apache deployment in Jenin is a harbinger of more escalation to come, as Palestinian terrorist groups adapt to Israel’s security sweeps and devise ever more lethal countermeasures. Footage from the scene showed a helicopter also deploying flares, which would suggest the IDF believes the Palestinians may possess shoulder-fired missiles — itself a quantum leap in weaponry.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel does not want the West Bank to become the Gaza Strip, and part of guaranteeing that does not happen is by keeping up daily, close-quarters ground operations. The Palestinians, for their part, are trying to turn terrorist bastions like Jenin and Nablus into no-go zones for Israeli security forces. The stakes and the risks are clearly rising. Now is the time for Israel and the United States to insist that the Palestinian Authority do its duty by stamping out the lawless pockets of the northern West Bank.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Fighting Continues During Helicopter Strike

The fighting continued throughout the helicopter strike, with at least two Palestinian gunmen — both from the Islamic Jihad terrorist group — killed. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said five people were killed and 66 wounded. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups issued statements claiming responsibility for attacking Israeli security forces in Jenin, including targeting the supporting Apache helicopter gunship.

Recent Islamic Jihad, Hamas Visits to Iran

The clashes in Jenin today follow a recent visit to Iran by the leadership of Islamic Jihad and Hamas. On June 14, Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Nakhalah met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On June 18, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and senior members of the organization arrived in Iran on an official visit.

Iran-Backed West Bank Chaos,” by Joe Truzman

Iran’s Multifront Strategy Against Israel,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Why the West Bank is in chaos,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman


Israel Palestinian Politics