Israeli soldiers came under fire by Palestinian gunmen early Sunday morning in the northern West Bank, responding with gunfire that killed three assailants, the military and Palestinian health officials said.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the shots had been fired toward a military post near Jit, west of Nablus, where troops of the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion were stationed during “proactive activity.”
The soldiers returned fire, “neutralizing” three of the Palestinian assailants, the IDF said.
The Palestinian Authority health ministry said they were notified of their deaths, indicating the attackers’ bodies had been taken by the army.
Another assailant turned himself in and was arrested and taken for questioning, the military said, adding that there were no casualties among the Israeli troops.
The slain gunmen were later named by the ministry as Jihad Mohammad Shami, 24, Udai Othman Shami, 22, and Mohammad Ra’ed Dabek, 18, The arrested man was named as Ibrahim Awartani.
صباح معطر بمسك دماء الشهداء الأكرم منا جميعاً…#نابلس تودع ثلاث رجال من أبطالها وخيرة شبابها..
إلى جنان الخلد يا أسود نابلس الأبطال... pic.twitter.com/WFnHvP1JIS
— بنت فلسطين (@Rawan_ps2) March 12, 2023
The Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group later claimed the gunmen as members.
The forces seized three M-16 rifles, a handgun, and magazines that had been in the attackers’ possession, the IDF said.
An image from the scene showed troops standing near a car that had apparently been used by the gunmen.
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) March 12, 2023
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. Those tensions have ramped up even further in recent weeks amid a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian revenge attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.
Early Friday morning, a Palestinian man was shot dead after he entered a settlement farm in the northern West Bank, armed with knives and several explosive devices.
On Friday evening, a Palestinian teenager who allegedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at an army post in the West Bank was shot dead, the military and Palestinian health officials said.
And on Thursday, three Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunmen were killed after opening fire at undercover forces in the West Bank village of Jaba’.
A string of Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent months left 14 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.
At least 80 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.