Three Palestinian fighters were killed overnight from Sunday to Monday in a new Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank, against a backdrop of an outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis since the beginning of the year.
The Israeli army said it opened fire and “neutralized two assailants” in response to shots aimed at soldiers during an “anti-terrorist” operation carried out in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, in the north of the West Bank.
In pursuit of several suspects, the soldiers discovered weapons in the area, including three M-16 assault rifles, two of which were in the possession of the fighters, according to a military statement, as well as ammunition and military equipment.
The Israeli soldiers also discovered in a house “an explosives manufacturing site containing tens of kilograms of explosives intended to carry out attacks”, added the army, specifying to have destroyed the site.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, three men, Mohammad Abou-Zaytoun, 32, Fathi Abou-Rizk, 30, and Abdallah Abou-Hamdane, 24, were shot dead in the Balata camp and six people were killed. were injured, one seriously.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said in a statement that the three men killed were “combatants” of the group.
- “Crime” –
The Palestinian presidency denounced Monday “a real massacre”.
Its spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina called the repeated operations of Israeli forces in Nablus a “major war crime and a collective punishment that must be ended immediately”, calling on “the American administration to intervene immediately to stop the Israeli madness .”
Witnesses told AFP that the Israeli armed forces raided several houses in the Balata camp overnight, saying they heard gunfire and loud explosions. A house was demolished, they added.
The Israeli army also announced that it carried out a raid in the city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, where it arrested three suspects and confiscated military equipment.
These new deaths come against the backdrop of an outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis since the beginning of the year.
Also in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli soldier was lightly injured Sunday evening in a ramming attack in Huwara, near Nablus, the Israeli army said, adding that the vehicle had fled.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 153 Palestinians, 20 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an AFP tally compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources .
These statistics include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.
Nearly three million Palestinians live in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967. About 490,000 Israelis also live there in settlements considered by the UN to be illegal under international law.