IDF kills wanted Palestinian terrorist in Nablus standoff operation

Ibrahim Nabulsi has been wanted by the IDF for years for a number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank, including against Joseph's Tomb.

 Palestinian protesters hurl stones during clashes with Israeli security forces after a raid in the old town of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, on August 9, 2022 (photo credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)
Palestinian protesters hurl stones during clashes with Israeli security forces after a raid in the old town of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, on August 9, 2022
(photo credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, who was wanted by the IDF for several years, was killed in an operation in Nablus on Tuesday.

Along with Nabulsi, two others were killed – Islam Soboukh and Hussein Taha. According to the Red Crescent, more than 60 people were injured.

"The elimination of the terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi is another step in our uncompromising fight against terrorism."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Special forces, from the police’s elite Yamam counterterrorism unit and the IDF’s undercover Duvdevan Unit, entered Nablus early Tuesday and surrounded Nabulsi’s home. Nabulsi had been wanted by the IDF for years and was said to have been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank, including shooting attacks against military positions in the area and at Joseph’s Tomb, which is located on the outskirts of Nablus.

Nabulsi refused to surrender and the security forces proceeded to use the “pressure cooker” method to reach him, which involved firing an anti-tank missile at the building in which he was holed up.

During the operation, a firefight broke out between IDF soldiers and Palestinians. There were 30 Palestinians said to have been wounded in the ensuing gun battle, which took place in daytime, a rarity for a West Bank raid. No casualties to Israeli forces were reported, although a trained dog belonging to Yamam was shot and killed when entering the building.

Police said a large number of explosives and additional weapons were found where Nabulsi was staying.

In a recording shared online, a voice reported to be Nabulsi can be heard saying “I love you all, I am now going to die a martyr’s death, I am asking that you never leave your weapons. I love my mother, pray for me."

 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 (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 (credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the operation was another step in Israel’s uncompromising fight against terrorism.

“I welcome the combined action of the security forces, the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Israel Police, which resulted in a targeted action with great success and without casualties. I send my appreciation to the forces in the field who dedicate their lives to the security of the citizens of Israel.”

Commander of the Samaria Regional Brigade, Col. Roi Zweig, said the IDF “will not allow there to be cities of refuge in Judea and Samaria. We will put our hands on every terrorist and we will go wherever we are required.”

 IDF operates in Nablus, August 9, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF operates in Nablus, August 9, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

After the deaths, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades warned that the response would be “blood for blood” and that the deaths would lead to “operations that will shake” Israel.

The group added that it would “join Nablus and the cities of the West Bank with Gaza in the battle of ‘the meeting of the free’ in retaliation for the blood of the martyred leaders.”

Who was Ibrahim Nabulsi?

Nabulsi, who did not have an organizational affiliation, took part in various attacks on Jews.

He was one of the terrorists involved in a shooting at Joseph's Tomb at the end of June, in which two Israeli civilians and one IDF commander were injured. The attack occurred during a regularly scheduled visit to the tomb to mark the new month, in which thousands of Israeli worshipers are allowed access to the site after the IDF has secured passage to the tomb.

He had evaded arrest several times, and in February, he was believed to have been eliminated by the IDF along with three other members of his cell, but it was later discovered he was still alive.

In July, Nabulsi again escaped arrest during an IDF raid in which two additional members of his cell were killed.

In a statement following the events, Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev praised the Israeli forces, saying that their actions “prove not only the courage and professionalism of the fighters, the precise intelligence, and the impressive cooperation between the various forces – but also the fact that the government continues to initiate and act offensively to lay hands on every terrorist who has carried out attacks, or who plans to carry out such attacks.”

Operation Break the Wave:

In addition to the operation carried out in Nablus overnight, IDF troops, along with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) forces and other special forces, arrested an additional four people throughout the West Bank.

In addition to the arrest, several illegal weapons, including grenades, were seized by security forces, as well as a stolen vehicle.

The clashes in Nablus follow a weekend of IDF operations against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in Operation Breaking Dawn,

during which, close to 1,000 rockets were fired from the strip toward Israel.

Operation Breaking Dawn was the result of an increase in tensions between Israel and the Islamic Jihad after Israeli forces arrested Bassem al-Saadi, leader of the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, from his home in Jenin last week.