NABLUS: Israel said its security forces shot dead three Palestinians blamed for killing a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters last month, in a raid Thursday in the occupied West Bank.
Two suspects in the killings, members of militant group Hamas, and a third man accused of helping them were killed in a joint operation in Nablus by the army, police and Shin Bet security service, a statement said.
It identified the three dead as the “murderers of Leah, Maia and Rina Dee” who died after the April 7 attack on their vehicle near Hamra in the Jordan Valley, Shin Bet said, using the women’s Hebrew names.
In a separate statement, the army named the two alleged Hamas operatives as Kassan Katnani and Maed Mitsri, and the alleged accomplice as Ebrahim Hura.
It added that troops recovered two M-16 rifles and an AK-47 from the apartment where the men were holed up.
In a statement, the Palestinian health ministry confirmed three people were killed in the morning raid in Nablus’ Old City.
“Two of the martyrs have completely distorted features due to the intensity of the shooting, which makes it difficult to identify them,” the ministry said.
An AFP correspondent heard gunfire erupt near the Old City around 7am (0400 GMT) as dozens of Israeli army vehicles swooped in from multiple directions.
In a statement, Hamas described the killing of the three Palestinians as an “assassination” of the “heroes of resistance in the city of Nablus”,
The raid came just days after violence flared along the Gaza border following the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in Israeli custody on Tuesday.
Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets from Gaza in response to the death of Khader Adnan, 45, a leading figure in Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank, who died in prison following an 87-day hunger strike.
The latest deadly raid brings to 105 the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year.
Nineteen Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP count based on official sources from the two sides.
These figures include combatants as well as civilians, and, on the Israeli side, include three members of the Arab minority.