JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security forces shot and killed three suspected militants in a West Bank raid on Tuesday aimed at thwarting an attack on Israeli targets, the military and police said.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said troops opened fire on two of the militants in their vehicle, which was found carrying explosive devices and two guns. The military said a third militant was killed in a gunfight that broke out with Israeli forces. Further details of the raid were not immediately available. The military said the operation, near the West Bank city of Hebron, was ongoing.
The military said the militants were linked to a violent, ultra-conservative Islamist movement known as the Salafi Jihadis, which draw inspiration from al-Qaida. Militants tied to the movement are said to operate in the Gaza Strip and to a lesser extent the West Bank. The military said the movement has expanded its network in recent months and that arrests of other suspected militants took place earlier Tuesday in other areas of the West Bank.
Such Israeli raids in the West Bank have been relatively rare since the end of the Palestinian uprising of the last decade. Still, the area has seen an uptick in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians in recent months, which has come as the sides are conducting peace talks. The violence has undermined the faltering negotiations.