The Israeli military sent out helicopter gunships Monday after Palestinian militants detonated a roadside bomb next to a military vehicle in the West Bank, according to the Associated Press.
Members of the Israeli military exchanged fire with a group of Palestinians after the bomb injured seven soldiers, who suffered light to moderate injuries, according to the AP. The soldiers were in the area to perform an arrest, and after engaging for some time in a “massive exchange of fire,” the military called in its gunships. (RELATED: Activists Push ‘No Pride In Apartheid’ Boycott Against Israel, Ignoring Gaza Anti-Gay Laws)
“As the security forces exited the city, a military vehicle was hit by an explosive device, damaging the vehicle,” a military spokesperson said, according to the AP. “[The helicopters] opened fire toward the gunmen in order to assist in extraction of the forces.”
Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said that the roadside bomb was “very unusual and dramatic” and that in order to remove their troops from the situation the helicopters were called in, according to the AP. The use of Israeli aircraft in the West Bank is extremely rare and follows months of escalating violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants.
Four Palestinians were killed in the exchange and identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as “Khaled Asasa, 21, Qassam Abu Sariya, 29, Qais Jabarin, 21, and 15-year-old Ahmed Saqr,” with five still in serious condition, according to the AP. Senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh released a statement saying that Israel had engaged in “a fierce and open war” and that the Palestinian government would be discussing the situation in an emergency meeting.
In May, Islamic Jihadists launched hundreds of rockets at Israel after the military fired 50 rockets to take out three Islamic Jihad leaders in the West Bank, as well as several terrorist rocket-launching devices.
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