Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Saturday near Jenin in the West Bank, in what Israel's security service said was a counterterrorism operation. Four members of the Police Special Anti-Terror Unit were injured during the clash, with one in a serious but stable condition.
The Shin Bet said that the Palestinians opened fire at the forces who were coming to arrest them, and were killed during the exchange. Weapons and grenades were later found in their vehicle. According to Palestinian reports the men were identified as Saib Abahra, 30, a father of five from Jenin, Halil Toalba, 24, and Seif Abu Labda, 25.
According to Israeli security forces, the three were responsible for a recent shooting attack near the city of Tul Karm in the West Bank, and planned to carry out further attacks. Police believe the three were on the way to commit another attack which was thwarted by the overnight operation. The attempted arrest was based on intelligence gathered on the three men, says a security source.
Palestinian medical teams report that they arrived at the scene and saw the bodies of the three men in a car, but were stopped from approaching them by Israeli forces. According to the report the bodies were eventually taken by a military ambulance.
Following the incident the Al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad, issued a statement announcing the death of three of their "organization fighters", adding they will continue the struggle (against Israel) "because we will not surrender and will not lose."
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev congratulated the police on the operation and said "It is the third time this week that the Israel Police... stands between terrorism and Israeli citizens and defeats terrorists."
On Friday, a Palestinian was killed by Israeli military fire during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron after an Israeli soldier identified a suspect who had thrown a Molotov cocktail and responded with gunfire.
While on Thursday, two Palestinians were killed in a gun battle with IDF troops in Jenin's refugee camp after a rare daylight arrest operation intended to arrest Palestinians suspected in connection to the terror attack that killed five Israelis in Bnei Brak on Tuesday, the IDF said.
This comes against the backdrop of an ongoing terror wave which took the lives of 11 Israelis in one week, a security crackdown, and escalating tensions ahead of Ramadan.