Three suspected militants were killed in West Bank by Israeli forces


Israel claims that its security forces have killed three militants from the occupied West Bank city Nablus, who were responsible for recent shooting attacks

JERUSALEM — Israel claims security forces killed three militants from the occupied West Bank city Nablus, who were responsible for recent shooting attacks.

The Shin Bet internal security agency initially said they were killed in a “clash,” but police later acknowledged that while the men had two assault rifles on them they did not fire them. “During the arrest, they tried to open fire and were neutralized,” the police said.

Many marched in the street to pay respects, waving Palestinian or factional flags. Some people fired their guns into the air. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group loosely tied to President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party, said the three are “heroic martyrs” and vowed revenge.

The statement identified the men as Adham Mabrouk (Ashraf al-Mubaslat), Mohammed al-Dakhil (Moham al-Dakhil) without revealing their ages. Online photos show the men holding assault rifles.

The Palestinian Authority, which controls a portion of the occupied West Bank region, condemned the shooting and demanded an international investigation.

Rights groups and Palestinians often accuse Israel, along with rights groups, of using excessive force to kill attackers who could have safely been detained. Israel maintains that its forces try to prevent unnecessary casualties and must take quick decisions in dangerous situations.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued a brief statement saying the operation had proved that “there is no immunity for terrorists,” adding that “whoever harms us — will be harmed.”

Benny Gantz, Defense Minister, congratulated security forces and stated that he had just ordered increased security in the region. “We will continue our proactive operations, and we will thwart and catch anyone who tries to harm human life,” he said.

The West Bank has seen numerous stabbing and shooting attacks from Palestinians in recent weeks. A December incident saw the shooting death of an Israeli settler near a settlement outpost. The shooting resulted in four arrests by Israel.

In recent years, settlers also attacked Palestinians and Israeli activists. They caused property damage and injury but not fatalities.

The West Bank was captured by Israel in 1967’s Mideast war. Palestinians want it to be the core of their future state. Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the territory, along with more than 2.5 millions Palestinians.

The Palestinians see the settlements as the biggest obstacle to peace, and the majority of the international community considers them illegal. Israel considers the West Bank the Jewish People’s historical and biblical heartland.

The peace talks came to a halt about a decade ago. But, Israel and the PA continue to work together on security issues.