Security forces say men were members of cell that carried out shooting attacks against Israelis in recent weeks; gunmen belonged to Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
By Aaron Boxerman *
Israeli security forces operating in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday killed three Palestinian gunmen who were allegedly behind recent shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, Israeli defense officials announced.
“A terrorist cell from the Nablus area was eliminated. The cell is responsible for a series of shooting attacks in the area against the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians in recent weeks,” the Shin Bet security service, the military and the Border Police said in a joint statement.
Israeli troops rarely conduct such operations in broad daylight inside major Palestinian cities. Even more unusually, the dead gunmen were reported to belong to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a coalition of armed groups associated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party.
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry confirmed that three Palestinians had been killed by Israeli soldiers in Nablus’s al-Makhfiya neighborhood. Palestinian media described the operation as an “assassination,” saying that Israeli forces had opened fire on the three men’s car.
The three Palestinians “sought to open fire” on officers of the Yamam police counterterrorism unit who had apparently lain in wait for them and attempted to arrest them, police said. Two M16 guns were confiscated, according to police.