Three Palestinian militants were killed after they opened fire on Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Another gunman surrendered to Israeli troops and was handed over to security personnel for questioning, the IDF said. Three M-16 rifles, a handgun and ammunition were confiscated after the shooting.
The Palestinian militants were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, according to the Associated Press.
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The gunmen opened fire at an Israeli military post near Nablus, one of many West Bank and Israeli cities that have seen an escalation of violence in recent months. Eleven Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid on three members of the Lion’s Den terrorist group on 22 February.
A Palestinian gunman shot and killed two Israeli brothers on February 26 near Har Bracha, a West Bank settlement about a mile south of Nablus.
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A day later, a 27-year-old man with dual US and Israeli nationality was shot and killed in the West Bank city of Jericho. Three Palestinian suspects were arrested days later during an IDF raid.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid heightened 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 itself against such attacks,” the Pentagon said Friday.
“The secretary stressed the importance of implementing the commitments made by senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in Aqaba, Jordan on February 26, and called for immediate steps to reduce violence and work towards a just and lasting peace.”
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Austin was referring to a meeting between Jordanian, Egyptian, US, Israeli and Palestinian officials in Aqaba, Jordan. Representatives from these five groups issued a joint statement following their Feb. 26 meeting saying they “reaffirmed the need to commit to de-escalation on the ground.”