Two Palestinian gunmen killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in Nablus

The Israeli Navy also opened fire toward a Palestinian fishing vessel off the coast of Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, the vessel was smuggling weapons and explosives.

 People gather at the scene where two Palestinian militants were killed during clashes with Israeli forces in a raid, in Nablus, West Bank, July 24, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)
People gather at the scene where two Palestinian militants were killed during clashes with Israeli forces in a raid, in Nablus, West Bank, July 24, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)

Two Palestinian gunmen were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces early on Sunday morning in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The two men were identified Abdul Rahman Sobah and Muhammad al-Azizi. Another 10 Palestinians were injured, including at least two seriously, in the three-hour-long operation that focused on a home in the Casbah (old city) of Nablus. Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the soldiers for the Jenin raid during Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“This government’s policy is clear: We will not sit and wait for people to hurt Israeli civilians,” Lapid said. “We will go out and strike the terrorists at their home.”

Lapid said Israeli forces “responded quickly, efficiently and precisely,” killing and injuring terrorists and confiscating weapons.

While it is still unclear if the two belonged to any specific Palestinian militant group, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades published a statement mourning the deaths of the two gunmen.

Security forces from the IDF, Israel Police, Border Police and YAMAM entered the city to arrest a number of terrorism suspects and encountered fire from armed militants who had barricaded themselves inside a building.

According to the Israel Police, the militants fired at troops and threw explosive devices at them. Troops responded with live fire and used “several other means” until the men inside the building and on its roof were killed. Some Palestinian reports indicated that forces used a “pressure cooker” method, including firing a missile toward the building.

 Weapons confiscated during an overnight raid in Nablus, July 24, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE) Weapons confiscated during an overnight raid in Nablus, July 24, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

Following the firefight, forces entered the building and confiscated dozens of weapons, firearms and explosive devices.

During the operation, riots broke out with local residents throwing stones, explosive devices and opening fire on troops who responded with riot dispersal methods including using live fire, the IDF said.

There were no injuries reported among the security forces, the military said.

The Israel Police said the security forces “will reach terrorists wherever they are hiding and will continue the joint activity in Judea and Samaria in order to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel.”

IDF troops also operated in the village of Qabatia, near Jenin, where two more Palestinian suspects were arrested. Clashes broke out during the raid, during which IDF troops returned fire toward the suspects.

Troops also carried out raids in the villages of Mughayyir near Ramallah, the Ayda refugee camp near Bethlehem and Jebel Mawaleh.

The raids were part of the ongoing IDF Break the Wave operation to crackdown on terrorism suspects after a wave of attacks in April and May led to the deaths of 20 people in Israeli cities.

The Israel Navy also opened fire toward a Palestinian fishing vessel off the coast of Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, the vessel was smuggling weapons and explosives into the blockaded enclave.

Palestinian fishermen ride their boats as they return from fishing at the seaport of Gaza City (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)Palestinian fishermen ride their boats as they return from fishing at the seaport of Gaza City (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

The vessel left Egypt during the night and crossed into an area that has been closed to fishing “in violation of security instructions and directives of the Navy,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, adding that when the boat ignored calls by the navy, troops opened fire.

The suspects who were on the ship swam to Gaza. The weaponry that was heading for Hamas was found on the boat and confiscated.

Israel maintains a blockade on the coastal enclave. Over the years, it has stopped numerous attempts to smuggle weapons into the Strip.

In April, the navy foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons-production materials from the Sinai into Gaza. Three men were arrested after the navy stopped a suspicious fishing vessel.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.