One of those killed was identified as a senior suspect, Muhammad Shatawi. Two other wanted suspects killed in the operation were identified as Abu Ali Quidar and Muhammad Hamis.
Palestinians, IDF clash in Nablus (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinian sources said the IDF launched a large-scale operation in the Balata refugee camp. According to the reports, army forces initiated a serious offensive in search of wanted suspects and resorted to heavy fire during the operation.
The Palestinians said IDF fire was directed mostly at medical teams in the area who arrived to evacuate the wounded, but the army said forces fired at Palestinians hurling Molotov cocktails at the troops.
Palestinian sources also said forces used silencers while firing, and said the army burned down one house during the search for suspects.
Al-Aqsa threatens retaliation
Following the incidents, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members in Nablus threatened a "swift and painful response" against Israel.
"Israel has opened on itself the gates of hell… any talks of calm in the situation do not obligate us," a spokesman for the group said.
The IDF reported that during the operation in town, several explosive charges were hurled at the forces, and that Palestinian gunmen opened fire at troops on several occasions. The soldiers responded with fire, shooting and killing two men who were throwing Molotov cocktails, and one armed Palestinian.
Troops also said that during the activity, one force encircled a house and entered it. Fire was opened at the force upon entering the house, moderately wounding one of the soldiers, who was consequently evacuated by helicopter to the Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikva.
Another soldier was lightly injured and treated on the spot. The troops responded with fire at the shooters and killed three. A search conducted at the house revealed two M-16 rifles, one equipped with a grenade launcher, as well as several pistols.
Palestinian officers held contacts with members of the Egyptian security delegation that is currently staying in the Strip, in a bid to bring the military activity to a halt. The Palestinians requested their Egyptian counterparts to intervene and get Israel to order that the operation be stopped.