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Israeli forces opened fire and killed 3 Palestinian gunmen, the military said

Israeli forces on Sunday shot and killed three Palestinian militants after firing on soldiers in the occupied territories. West BankThe military said the bloodshed was the latest in a year of violence in the region.

The Times of Israel reported that the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that shots were fired at a military post near Jit, west of Nablus, where soldiers from the Reconnaissance Battalion of the Golani Brigade were stationed during what the IDF called “proactive activity.” The soldiers returned fire, “neutralizing” the three Palestinian attackers, the IDF told The Times of Israel.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, claimed the dead were members of the group.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the men were killed by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami (24), Uday Othman al-Shami (22) and Mohammed Raed Dabek (18).

Israel is Palestinian

Israeli soldiers operate in Sara village near the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus, Sunday, March 12, 2023. Three Palestinian gunmen were shot dead by Israeli forces after firing on soldiers in the occupied West Bank. It was the latest bloodshed in a year of violence in the region.

Majdi Mohammad/AP

The military said it seized three M16 rifles from the militants after a gunfight and a gunman turned himself in and was arrested.

Sunday’s death brings to 80 the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the year, as Israel steps up arrest operations in the West Bank. A spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 14 in 2023.

The fresh violence followed an Israeli military operation in the West Bank village of Jabba last week, in which three Palestinian militants were killed. Hours later, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv highway at the start of the Israeli weekend, wounding three before being shot dead.

The current round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank is one of the worst in years. It began last spring after a series of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that triggered an almost nightly Israeli offensive in the West Bank.

About 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in the region since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. At the same time, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

The army says most of the dead Palestinians are militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursion and others not involved in the clashes have also been killed.

Israel says the operations are essential to destroy militant networks and prevent future attacks But the attacks seem to be intensifying rather than diminishing.

Palestinians view Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation as a tough call for their future state.

In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians want those territories for their future independent state.

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