Two Palestinian gunmen were shot and killed by Israeli troops while attempting to carry out an attack near Nablus in the northern West Bank on Tuesday afternoon, the military said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops stationed outside the Palestinian town of Deir al-Hatab identified a number of Palestinian gunmen opening fire from a passing vehicle at a military post near the adjacent settlement of Elon Moreh.
The troops of the 636th Combat Intelligence Collection Battalion ambushed the gunmen, killing two, a military source said. A third was reportedly wounded and fled toward the Nablus area.
The IDF said three M16 assault rifles and two handguns were seized at the scene from the suspects and following searches in the area.
The gunmen were named as Saud al-Titi and Muhammad Abu Dara al-Boub, from the Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus.
The local armed group of the Balata refugee camp identified the two men members, sharing photos of them brandishing M-16s in the camp. al-Titi had previously spent 15 years in Israeli prison, the group said.
“We fought as soldiers and we promise we will always be soldiers,” al-Titi said in a video after being freed from prison last spring.
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said it was notified of their deaths, indicating their bodies were being held by the IDF.
No Israeli soldiers were hurt in the attempted attack, the IDF said.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant praised the troops in a statement. “In their successful operation, the soldiers prevented an attack against Israeli civilians,” Gallant said.
شهداء نابلس قبل قليل هم الشهيد المقاوم سعود الطيطي و والشهيد المقاوم محمد ابو دراع.
ينتمون لحركة فتح pic.twitter.com/Km8Py0i0TG
— Hanzala (@Hanzpal2) April 11, 2023
In a separate incident on Tuesday, an unarmed Palestinian man was detained after lunging at Border Police officers in the southern West Bank town of Hebron.
According to a police spokesman, the 23-year-old resident of Hebron attacked officers near the city’s Cave of the Patriarchs, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque.
One of the officers opened fire into the air while another tackled the man to the ground, the spokesman said, adding that the suspect was lightly hurt.
Footage shows the incident in Hebron. The Palestinian man was unarmed. pic.twitter.com/xpWP2rKwJU
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 11, 2023
Earlier on Tuesday, the IDF said troops captured an alleged Palestinian terror cell planning an “imminent attack” during a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The incidents on Tuesday came as tensions have soared across the region in recent days, with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night; a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday; tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week; clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank; and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
At least 92 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.
Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 19 people dead since the beginning of the year.
Agencies contributed to this report