People stand near the site where two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid in Qabatiya, near Jenin. Image Credit: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: Israeli troops killed two Palestinians who opened fire on them in the West Bank on Wednesday, the army said, and the Islamic Jihad militant group claimed the slain men as members.

The shooting in Qabatiya, near the flashpoint town of Jenin, came as both sides braced for a flare-up after Israel carried out surprise air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday that killed three Islamic Jihad leaders and 10 civilians.

The army said the two Palestinians fired on troops from a car and were shot dead. An assault rifle was recovered from the vehicle, it said, adding that there were no Israeli casualties.

“The enemy must understand that our response will match the size of their crimes against our people and our holy warriors,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement that described the two slain men as its members killed in a clash with Israeli troops.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the slain men as Ahmed Assaf, 19, and Rani Qatanat, 24.

More than 100 Palestinians, most of them gunmen but some of them civilians including children, have been killed by Israeli forces this year. At least 18 Israelis and foreigners have died.