According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, three Palestinian men were killed in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday morning during an Israeli military operation against suspected militants. Among the dead is Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, the apparent target of the Israeli airstrike. Palestinian Health Ministry officials named the other men killed as Islam Sabbouh and Hussein Jamal Taha. A statement by the People's Resistance Committees (PRC), a loose association of smaller armed groups, hailed the death of the three men as a heroic act of resistance.
Although closely linked, the PRC is considered separate from the armed wings of the Islamic Jihad (Quds Brigades) and Hamas (Qassam Brigades) militant groups. Israel accused Al Nabulsi of involvement in a series of recent shooting attacks on Israelis in the West Bank. Israeli forces surrounded a building in the old city of Nablus early on Tuesday before targeting it with a shoulder-fired rocket, an Israeli statement said, sparking the firefight. In Telegram, Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, said that its members in Nablus were involved in "violent confrontations with enemy special forces when they attacked the old city." According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, about 40 people were injured, several critically, in the violent exchanges, and three men killed.
The fatal clashes appear to test the strength of a ceasefire renewed for Gaza more than 24 hours ago, which ended two days of Israeli airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets and rockets fired into Israel. A ceasefire was still in effect in Gaza on Tuesday. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad said on Tuesday that Israel arrests and kills without any accountability. "That's why we have decided to resist with our weapons. If we don't find weapons, we will resist with stones, but we will not give up," spokesman Daoud Shihab said.
Tuesday's airstrike follows the worst hostilities between Israel and militants in Gaza in more than a year. On Friday, Israel launched preemptive strikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the coastal enclave. At least 44 Palestinian militants and civilians, including 15 children, were killed in the violence before a ceasefire was agreed upon on Sunday evening, according to Palestinian officials. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that "the operation had restored deterrence." "All our objectives have been achieved. The entire high military command of Islamic Jihad in Gaza has been successfully targeted within three days".
The operation also took a toll on Gaza's civilian population. Israel and Egypt have closed off Gaza since 2007, restricting access to the territory by land, air, and sea, including severe restrictions on the movement of people and the flow of goods. Gaza's only power plant was forced to shut down on Saturday after it ran out of fuel, drastically cutting electricity supplies to the territory's two million residents. Following the ceasefireceasefire agreement, fuel traffic through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing resumed on Monday for the first time in a week. Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two main militant groups in Gaza, fired about 1,175 rockets at Israel during the escalation, according to Israeli figures, mainly at Israeli communities near Gaza.
The group also fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. "About 185 rockets landed inside Gaza", the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Monday. The Iron Dome air defense system, deployed against any incoming fire deemed a threat to people or buildings and intercepted rockets fired at Jerusalem, operated with a 96 percent success rate, an IDF spokesman said Monday. A senior Israeli diplomatic official, speaking to reporters on Monday, appeared to acknowledge that the Israeli campaign may have been responsible for the deaths of some civilians and militants, saying that early estimates indicated most of the civilian casualties were the result of stray rockets.
Fire from Islamic Jihad. Civilian casualties have always been a tragedy, the official said. In one incident on Saturday, four children were among seven people killed in an explosion in Jabalia, northern Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said an Israeli airstrike caused the explosion, but Israel rejected the claim and blamed an errant rocket fire. The IDF released a video showing an Islamic Jihad rocket losing power and falling to the ground over a built-up area.