Israeli forces kill 3 suspected militants in West Bank city

American Age Official

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel says security forces killed three Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday who had been responsible for recent shooting attacks.

The Shin Bet internal security agency says the men were armed and in a vehicle, and were killed in a clash with security forces. No Israelis were harmed in the shooting, it said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the three deaths.

Photos of the three men circulating online show them posing with assault rifles, with one wearing a headband of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group loosely tied to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

The militant group said the three men are “heroic martyrs” and vowed revenge in a statement circulated on a Fatah-affiliated social media group. It identified them as Ibrahim al-Nablusi, Adham Mabrouk and Mohammed al-Dakhil, without giving their ages.

The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, condemned the shooting of the three men and called for an international investigation.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz congratulated the security forces and said he had recently ordered stepped-up security in the area. “We will continue our proactive operations, and we will thwart and catch anyone who tries to harm human life,” he said.

Recent weeks have seen a number of stabbing and shooting attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank. An Israeli settler was shot dead near a settlement outpost in December.

Settlers have also carried out a number of attacks recently against Palestinians and Israeli activists, causing injuries and property damage but no fatalities.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers reside in the territory alongside more than 2.5 million Palestinians.

The Palestinians view the settlements as the main obstacle to peace and most of the international community considers them illegal. Israel views the West Bank as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people.

Peace talks ground to a halt more than a decade ago, but the PA and Israel cooperate on security and other matters.

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