Israel Police released Tuesday evening footage from an hours-long standoff between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen during a counterterrorism operation in the West Bank city of Nablus.
The footage from helmet cameras of IDF soldiers shows them operating under heavy fire in broad daylight as they encircled a home where Palestinian terror suspect Ibrahim al-Nablusi was hiding. It also features troops using different types of weapons in the firefight as well as them breaking into the house.
Al-Nablusi was killed by Israeli forces at the end of a tense three-hour siege along with two other Palestinian gunmen. An Israeli police dog belonging to the elite Yamam counterterrorism unit was also killed in the raid.
Al-Nablusi, 18, managed to evade arrest for several months. He was known to the defense establishment as a wayward young man who rose to prominence after he managed to escape an Israeli ambush on a terrorist cell he was a member of. He gradually gained a faithful online following and became a local hero in Nablus.
Security officials knew of al-Nablusi's whereabouts for days but decided to wait for an opportune moment before going after him.
An Israeli source tells Ynet that the decision to carry out the raid in broad daylight and in the middle of a residential area was meant in part to serve as a warning to other terror suspects.
The source says that plainclothes forces encircled the home where al-Nablusi was hiding and called out to him to surrender after identifying themselves.
Al-Nablusi barricaded himself inside the house and opened fire at the troops. The force then deployed a "pressure cooker" strategy to try and force him out of the house, starting with pistol fire before switching to more deadly alternatives.
Ultimately, troops fired missiles at the building, completely destroying it and killing the fugitive in the process.
The Israeli defense establishment considered al-Nablusi — who was not affiliated with or funded by any terrorist group — to be a ticking timebomb, intent on carrying out attacks against Israelis. During a search of the ruins, Israeli forces found explosive devices and munitions.
Nablus Governor Ibrahim Ramadan announced a city-wide strike in response to the Israeli action and the local hospital called on residents to donate blood due to the high number of casualties in the siege.
Palestinian factions called on local residents to go out and clash with IDF troops and the military expects thousands to participate in the slain terrorists' funeral on Tuesday afternoon with violent demonstrations expected to follow.
On his last social media post, al-Nablusi told his supporters that he was surrounded by Israeli forces.
"I love you and I am going to die as a martyr, friends." he said in a message he recorded during the three-hour siege. "I love my mother. look after the homeland. Don't put down your guns."