Israel Kills Three Palestinian Militants in Nablus Suspected of West Bank Shootings

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirms three deaths, calling the Israeli operation 'an assassination'

A bullet-riddled car belonging to three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, Nablus, West Bank, February 2022.
A bullet-riddled car belonging to three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, Nablus, West Bank, February 2022.Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP

Israeli forces killed three Palestinian gunmen on Tuesday in Nablus, accusing the three of several shooting attacks targeting military forces and Israeli civilians in the West Bank in recent weeks.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the three deaths, calling the Israeli operation "an assassination." The Foreign Ministry described it as a "field execution."

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Clashes in Nablus, on Tuesday.

The Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, which controls the West Bank, said the three men were its members. The men have been identified as Ashraf al-Mubaslat, Adham Mabrukeh and Mohammed al-Dakheel.

The militant group said the three men are “heroic martyrs” and it vowed revenge in a statement circulated on a Fatah-affiliated social media group.

Rival Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, urged its followers to "take out their anger and frustration at the Zionist enemy."

Nablus shooting scene

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that a fourth person was in the car in which the three were killed, and that this person was arrested by the Israeli forces.

The Israeli statement said the three Palestinians were shot after they "tried to open fire," and that they were in possession of two M-16 rifles.

Ahead of the funeral later on Tuesday, armed men gathered in the city center, calling for revenge against Israel for the attack.

File: Israeli forces in the West Bank.Credit: Police Spokesperson

No casualties were reported among Israeli Police and military forces.

An Israeli defense official said the cell was a renegade group that had recently splintered from Fatah.

Members of the cell are thought to be responsible for a number of shooting attacks in recent weeks, including two incidents in which shots were fired at an Israeli army position at an entrance to Nablus. Neither shooting resulted in casualties. One of them took place on Wednesday of last week when shots were fired from a car.

On Jan. 30, shots were fired at an army vehicle near the town of Tell, just outside Nablus, a week after the cell is also thought to have fired at an army position at an entrance to Nablus.

Al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, which controls the West Bank, said the three killed were its members.

Witnesses told Haaretz that Israeli forces fired many rounds at the three men, who were in their car in the city's western al-Makhafiya neighborhood. "It was an assassination, without a doubt," said one of the witnesses.

"A special Israeli force operated quickly, killing the three on the spot and leaving the area in a civilian car," he added.

A local resident told Haaretz: "It was very cruel, and the number of shots made it clear the target was to kill them, rather than hurt or detain them."

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: "Our forces have proven once again that there is no immunity for terrorists. Those who hurt us will be hurt."

Defense Minister Benny Gantz applauded the IDF for "eliminating the terrorist cell that carried out shooting attacks in recent weeks."

Following the operation, an Israeli taxi driver that had entered Nablus was attacked with stones and tires. He was able to escape.

A number of stabbing and shooting attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank have targeted Israeli settlers in recent week. One settler was shot dead near a settlement outpost in December.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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