Three Palestinian militants were killed after opening fire on Israeli soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.
The IDF said that another armed gunman surrendered himself to Israeli troops and was transferred to security personnel for questioning. Three M-16 rifles, a handgun and ammunition were seized after the shooting.
According to the Associated Press, the Palestinian terrorists were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.
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Gunmen opened fire on an Israeli military post near Nablus, one of several cities in the West Bank and Israel that have seen an increase in violence in recent months. On 22 February, eleven Palestinians were killed in an Israeli attack targeting three members of the Lions Den terrorist group.
A Palestinian gunman shot and killed two Israeli brothers on 26 February near Har Bracha, a West Bank settlement about a mile south of Nablus.
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A day later, a 27-year-old US-Israeli dual-national was shot dead in the West Bank city of Jericho. Three Palestinian suspects were arrested a few days later during an IDF raid.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid rising tensions.
“Secretary Austin offered condolences to the prime minister for the recent victims of terrorism and reaffirmed his commitment to Israel’s right to defend against such attacks,” the Pentagon said on Friday.
“The Secretary stresses the importance of implementing the commitments made by Israeli and Palestinian senior officials on 26 February in Aqaba, Jordan, and urges urgent steps to reduce violence and work towards a just and lasting peace Did.”
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Austin was referring to a meeting between Jordanian, Egyptian, US, Israeli and Palestinian officials in Aqaba, Jordan. Representatives of those five groups issued a joint statement following the February 26 meeting, saying they “reaffirmed the need to de-escalate tensions on the ground.”