NABLUS: Two Palestinians were killed overnight in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday, in what the Israeli army said was a shootout with gunmen.
The army said it carried out operations and used live fire in several locations, including in Nablus, adding it arrested four “individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities”.
The Israeli military said “hits” were identified against multiple “terrorists” and said there were no reported wounded on its own side.
Israel’s security forces have launched near-daily operations in the West Bank following a spate of attacks in Israel in recent months. The Jewish state has occupied the West Bank since 1967.
The Palestinian health ministry said Muhamad Azizi, 25, was killed by a bullet to the chest while Abdul Rahman Jamal Suleiman Sobh, 28, was shot in the head overnight.
Six others were wounded, including two in serious condition, it said.
“This Israeli crime will not defeat our people and will not break their will,” said Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
“The entire region will remain in a cycle of violence until the occupation is ended and a just peace is achieved, he added in a statement to Voice of Palestine radio.
The army said in a statement that its operation in Nablus was carried out alongside police, and that it also launched operations in several other locations including the town of Mughayir, Ayda camp and the city of Jenin.
It said the operation in Nablus was launched “to apprehend armed terrorist suspects”.
“During the activity, an exchange of fire took place between the armed suspects and Israeli forces. Hits on a number of terrorists were identified,” it said.
The Israeli military alleged that a “violent riot was instigated” during the “operational activity”.
“The rioters hurled explosive devices and rocks and shot at… soldiers, endangering their lives,” it said. “The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.”
The military also said it had operated alongside Israel Border Police in the village of Qabatiya to “apprehend two suspects suspected of involvement in terrorist activities”.
“Armed suspects shot at the soldiers, who responded with live fire,” it added.
At least 52 Palestinians have been killed since late March, mostly in the West Bank, among them suspected militants and also non-combatants, including Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American dual national, who was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.
Over the same period, 19 people — the majority Israeli civilians inside Israel — have been killed, mainly in attacks by Palestinians. Three Israeli Arab attackers have also been killed.