Israeli Military Mulls Using Helicopters, Drones in West Bank Operations

The proposed revamp of the military's strategy follows the death of an Israeli officer during a raid in Jenin

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
An Israeli Air Force helicopter taking part in the Independence Day flyover, last week.
An Israeli Air Force helicopter taking part in the Independence Day flyover, last week.Credit: Moti Milrod
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israeli military is considering reinforcing its operations in the West Bank with helicopters and drones, in the wake of an officer's death during a raid in Jenin last week.

It is rare nowadays for the Israeli Air Force to take part in military operations in the West Bank.

In the proposed revamp of the military's West Bank defensive strategy, helicopters and drones may be used to secure ground troops through the use of deterrent fire and possibly shoot at armed combatants.

A senior military source said the Israel Defense Forces was also considering introducing special drone units into its West Bank operations.

On Friday, Police Special Anti-Terror Unit officer Noam Raz, 47, was wounded during a stand-off with Palestinian gunmen in Burqin, near the Jenin refugee camp. Raz was taken to the hospital in serious condition and later succumbed to his wounds.

Palestinian militant Daoud Zubeidi was also wounded during the hours-long standoff, and later succumbed to his wounds at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. Israel is yet to return his body to the family.

Israel has conducted near-daily raids in Jenin and other parts of the West Bank in recent weeks, following a series of deadly attacks in Israel carried out by militants from the area.

Last week, Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.

Jack Khoury contributed to this report.

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