Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, said the killed men were members of its ranks. The group said the two gunmen exchanged fire with soldiers before being killed.
Military officials said the cell had planned to ambush an IDF patrol in the area or cross the security barrier to carry out a terror attack in one of the communities in the area.
IDF soldiers in watchtowers spotted the gunmen crawling in the direction of the security barrier and alarmed their commanders.
A tank and an IAF jet fired shells at the gunmen, the military said.
Two Kalashnikovs, hand grenades and a radio transmitter were found on the bodies of the terrorists.
The army said terror group are seeking to carry out an attack during Passover by firing Qassam rockets at Israeli communities or infiltrating a community to carry out a shooting attack.
Security authorities are contending with 78 warnings regarding plans to carry out terror attacks, including 16 concrete warnings. Most warnings are related to Islamic Jihad terrorists in the northern West Bank. The number of concrete alerts stood at 13 yesterday, but three new ones were added since that time.
The IDF has been operating against Islamic Jihad cells in the West Bank in recent weeks and has also targeted the cell behind the recent suicide bombing near Kedumim that killed four Israelis. Overnight, troops uncovered an explosives lab near Jenin.
Ali Waked contributed to this report