Palestinian men walk towards a crater and debris caused by an improvised explosive device which targeted an Israeli military jeep along a dirty used during their military operation, in the northern Palestinian city of Jenin, in the Israeli occupied West Bank on June 27, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

JENIN, Palestinian Territories: An Israeli army official said an explosion killed a soldier and wounded 16 others on Thursday in the occupied West Bank, in an attack claimed by the militant group Islamic Jihad.

The incident happened in Jenin, a longstanding stronghold for Palestinian militant groups. The Israeli army routinely carries out raids in the city and its adjacent refugee camp.

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Captain Alon Sacgiu, 22, “fell during an operation in the Jenin sector”, the military said in an initial statement, without giving details of the circumstances of his death.

Another soldier was seriously wounded and taken to hospital, the brief statement added.

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An Israeli military official later told AFP five more soldiers were moderately wounded and 10 had slight injuries.

“The soldiers were injured as a result of the explosion of an explosive device during operational activity in the area of Jenin,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak publicly on the issue.

The armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al Quds Brigades, said its fighters in Jenin “managed to blow up” two Israeli military vehicles, claiming to have set off six explosive devices.

Witnesses in Jenin told AFP that improvised explosive devices planted on a road used by the army had detonated.

Palestinian official news agency Wafa said a young Palestinian man was wounded in the face by shrapnel during the latest military raid.

Wafa said Israeli troops stormed Jenin shortly before midnight and were deployed until dawn in the city and its outskirts.

Troops “deployed dozens of sniper soldiers on the roofs of commercial buildings and houses and in the neighbourhoods of the city and its commercial centre,” Wafa reported on its English language website.

Clashes and exchange of fire could be heard through the night, they added.

During the raid, the Palestinian Red Crescent said it had taken care of a young Palestinian, “who was shot in the face and transferred to a hospital”.

Violence in the West Bank, under Israeli occupation since 1967, had already surged before the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza broke out on October 7. Since then it has escalated to levels unseen in about two decades.

At least 553 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops or settlers since the Gaza war broke out, according to Palestinian officials.

Attacks by Palestinians have killed at least 15 Israelis, including soldiers, in the West Bank over the same period, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.