Security forces thwarted a large-scale terror attack on Wednesday after an elite police unit backed up by IDF troops shot and killed two Islamic Jihad operatives in Nablus during a fierce gun battle.
Operating on precise intelligence supplied by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), policemen from the elite counter-terror Yamam unit surrounded a home in Nalbus early Wednesday morning and called on the fugitives inside to surrender. The Palestinians refused and after a military bulldozer began to knock away at the structure, the suspects ran out of the building and opened fire at the security force. The policemen and soldiers returned fire and killed two of the suspects. A third suspect was injured and a fourth was arrested.
Soldiers discovered a 25-kilogram bomb in the house in addition to three Kalashnikov machine guns and a handgun. IDF sappers destroyed the bomb in a controlled explosion. The cell, a security official said, was in the midst of planning suicide bombings and shooting attacks against targets in the West Bank and in Israel.
The house was severely damaged, witnesses said. The bulldozer damaged two cars parked on the street, broke through a garden wall and cut a path through the yard to the house.
The dead men were identified as Mustafa Hasin a-Gani, 23, and Atman Mahmad Anza, 26. The leader of the cell, Allah Mustafa Amran, 21, was arrested and the wounded man was identified as Amin Amar. Gani and Amar, security officials said, were released in February from a Palestinian prison in Jericho where they were being held under Israel's approval. They were released by Palestinian officials together with 80 other terror suspects.
"Islamic Jihad is incessantly trying to perpetrate attacks against Israel," a security official asserted, adding that funding for the group's terror activity came from Syria and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah.
A spokesman for Islamic Jihad, which also claimed responsibility for the firing of a Katyusha rocket that struck Netiv Ha'asara on Tuesday, said the group would keep up its attacks against Israel.
"This gives us more courage to fight them," said the spokesman who gave his name as Abul Abed. "We are fighting with Israel for billions of Muslims in the world. This is our way."