Israeli forces kill 3 militants in West Bank raid, with Palestinians vowing retaliation
Deadly shootout comes day after ceasefire ended Gaza fighting between Israel, Islamic Jihad militants
Israeli troops killed three Palestinian militants and wounded dozens in a shootout that erupted during an arrest raid in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.
The shootout came a day after a ceasefire ended three days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli police said security forces encircled the home of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, who they say was wanted for a string of shootings in the West Bank earlier this year. They confirmed that al-Nabulsi and another Palestinian militant were killed in a shootout at the scene, and that troops found arms and explosives in his home.
The Israeli military said that troops came under attack from Palestinians throwing rocks and explosives, and that soldiers responded with live fire. It confirmed Palestinians were shot, but did not elaborate on their condition.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said three people were killed — al-Nabulsi, Islam Sabouh and Hussein Jamal Taha — and at least 40 were wounded.
The armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, later claimed the three as its members and vowed retaliation.
The Fatah party said the organization "mourns its martyred sons" and said the three had "sacrificed their lives in defence of our great people and their right to freedom and independence."
In a separate incident in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 17-year-old was killed by Israeli fire. The Israeli military said forces were responding with live fire, among other means, to a violent protest.
Raid follows Gaza hostilities
Israel has conducted near nightly arrest raids in the West Bank in recent months as part of a crackdown on Palestinian militant groups, foremost Islamic Jihad, in the aftermath of a string of deadly attacks targeting Israelis earlier this year that left 19 people dead. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops during these arrest raids.
Last week, Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior Islamic Jihad militant in the West Bank city of Jenin, during one of the nightly operations.
The group said it was going "on alert," and on Friday, Israel launched a series of strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip in what it said was a response to an "imminent threat" by the militant group.
During the three days of Gaza fighting, at least 46 Palestinians were killed, including 16 children and four women, with 311 wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Twelve of those killed were Islamic Jihad militants, one was from a smaller armed group, and two were Hamas-affiliated police who were not taking part in the fighting, according to the armed factions.
Israel estimated that a total of 47 Palestinians were killed, including 14 killed by misfired Islamic Jihad rockets. It said 20 militants and seven civilians died in Israeli airstrikes and that it was still investigating six deaths.
Israel's caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, applauded the co-operation by Israeli security personnel and said that al-Nabulsi's killing "was another step in our uncompromising struggle against terrorism."
Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesperson for Abbas, warned that continued violence could further ignite the region, and accused the Israeli government of using the attacks to secure internal political capital ahead of November parliamentary elections.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek it as the heartland of their future state. Israel views the West Bank as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people, and has constructed dozens of settlements, now home to over 400,000 Israelis.
The Palestinians and much of the international community consider Israel's West Bank settlements a violation of international law and an obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the decades-long conflict.
Hamas rescinds restrictions for Gaza journalists
Hamas issued sweeping new restrictions on journalists after the recent conflict there, but then rescinded them, a group representing foreign media in Israel and the Palestinian territories said Tuesday.
Palestinians who work with foreign journalists were first informed of the new rules earlier this week in messages sent by the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. They were ordered not to report on Gazans killed by misfired Palestinian rockets or the military capabilities of Palestinian armed groups, and were told to blame Israel for the recent escalation.
The Foreign Press Association, which represents international media, including The Associated Press, said the guidelines were rescinded after discussions with authorities in Gaza.
Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007 from rival Palestinian forces, requires all visiting reporters to have a local sponsor — usually a Palestinian journalist or translator hired by the news outlet.
Under the now rescinded restrictions, sponsors were told they must accompany the journalists during their reporting and will be held responsible for what they produce.
In recent years, Hamas has required journalists to apply for advance approval to film in certain locations, such as the Gaza fishing port, the beach and the gold market.
Hamas has also barred Palestinians from working for Israeli media or providing services to them. Palestinians are also barred from giving interviews to Israeli outlets.