Israeli security forces thwarted a Palestinian attack and took out a terror cell in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday.
Three Palestinian terrorists from the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade were killed in clashes with the Israeli Security Agency, according to the Israel National Counter-Terrorism Unit and the IDF. The Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported that a fourth Palestinian had been arrested in the operation. Israeli forces sustained no casualties.
The terrorists belonged to a cell that was responsible for a series of at least six shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians in recent weeks, the IDF said. The operation is expected to continue as it is believed that at least one terrorist from the cell is still alive.
According to Israeli intelligence, the terrorist cell was planning another shooting attack for Tuesday evening in the territory of Samaria.
Two loaded M16 assault rifles were seized in the operation. Footage from the scene showed the terrorists' car with dozens of bullet holes, indicating that undercover troops may have jumped out of the van and shot the occupants through the windshield.
صور: عشرات الرصاصات اخترقت مركبة الشبان الثلاثة الذين ارتقوا برصاص الاحتلال في نابلس. pic.twitter.com/thNtwH7JZz— الرسالة للإعلام (@Alresalahpress) February 8, 2022
The terrorists have been identified as Ashraf al-Mublasat, Adham al-Mabrouk and Muhammad al-Dakhil. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade published their photos holding guns and vowed to take revenge for their death, “blood for blood.”
Thousands of Palestinians participated in their funeral processions in Nablus in the afternoon hours. They chanted “With blood and spirit, we’ll redeem you, o martyr!” and “Brigades! Qassam! Revenge! Revenge!”.
A commander of the Yamam anti-terror police unit said in a statement that the unit worked with the Shin Bet and IDF for several weeks to thwart the cell.
"Once again, you proved that the citizens of the State of Israel have someone to rely on, you acted with courage and brought about the thwarting of a dangerous terrorist cell that intended to continue carrying out terrorist activities," said Border Police Commander Amir Cohen in an address to Yamam officers. "I'm proud of you. The corps will continue its joint activities with all security forces in order to thwart terrorism and protect all citizens of the State of Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement: “Our forces proved today, once again, that there is no immunity for terrorists. Whoever harms us will be harmed."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz praised the Israeli security forces for the operation, “I recently ordered that preventive activities against shooting attacks and troop presence in central arteries and areas of the [West Bank] be stepped up,” he wrote on Twitter. “We’ll continue with proactive operations, prevent [attacks] and capture anyone who tries to hurt people.”
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry condemned the shooting death of the three terror suspects “in the most severe terms,” saying they were “executed.” Palestinian media described the operation as an “assassination.”
Following the operation, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in a number of locations near Nablus. Palestinian youth called for a day of rage in Ramallah on Wednesday in response to the killing.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.