Three terrorists on their way to execute an attack were killed in a joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security and the Israel Police, IDF spokesperson Rear-Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Sunday.
The three terrorists were leaving the Jenin refugee camp in a vehicle on Highway 60 toward the Israeli settlement of Mevo Dotan before they were stopped by Israel's security forces near the West Bank village of Arabeh.
"Near the village of Arabeh [we] laid an ambush for the three terrorists. It's not clear to which organization they belong, but they are known to us and were involved in a number of terror attacks in the past," Hagari said.
"This was an operation to remove a threat, in broad daylight - we received a warning and prepared accordingly. If we have the intelligence, we operate," he added.
Among the dead was the commander of the terror cell Na'if Abu Sawis, a 26-year-old resident of the Jenin refugee camp and one of its leading terrorists. Sawis had been involved in attacks on Israeli forces and was executing operations under the direction of terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Videos circulating on social media show IDF soldiers shooting at a car on the side of the road from a close distance. An M-16 rifle and a number of magazines were later found in the car.
Hagari explained that security forces expected the terrorists to fight to the death since they weren't caught off guard but in the middle of an attack, so there was a small chance of taking them alive, according to a Jerusalem Post report.
The IDF decided not to launch a drone attack, which would have endangered nearby civilians. Instead, a ground operation allowed for a more surgical solution, Hagari added.
At the beginning of July, the IDF executed a major operation in Jenin in order to restore deterrence and disrupt the local terror networks.
Over 1,000 IDF soldiers took part in Operation Home and Garden, which was reportedly the largest Israeli military West Bank operation of its kind in two decades.
The Israeli military eliminated at least ten terrorists and uncovered hidden weapon production facilities in Jenin. While largely successful, one IDF soldier was killed during the Israeli withdrawal from Jenin.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.