26th September, 2021
Four Palestinian militants died overnight on Sunday amid clashes with Israeli soldiers carrying out raids in the West Bank.
According to Israeli government officials, the raids were conducted due to reports of a planned terrorist attack.
Shots were reported fired at multiple locations after Israeli forces staged the raids, according to the reports, which cited members of the security forces.
The Israeli forces were hunting for members of Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip but is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel.
The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed four deaths, one in Jenin, which lies in the northern part of the West Bank, and three north-west of Jerusalem.
“The Security forces operated tonight in Judea and Samaria against Hamas terrorists who were about to carry out terrorist attacks,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“The soldiers and commanders in the field acted as expected of them and engaged the terrorists. We support them completely.”
A Hamas official spoke of “martyrs” and blamed their deaths on the cooperation between Israeli forces and the Palestinian rulers in the West Bank, who are rivals of Hamas.
“It’s a continuation of the crimes against our people,” said the Hamas spokesperson.
Israeli military spokesperson Ran Kochav told the Times of Israel that Israeli officials are assuming Sunday’s actions could lead to retaliatory rocket attacks out of the Gaza Strip.
Such attacks often prompt Israeli retaliation and have, in the past, led to larger wars, most recently in May.
Israel has controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 war, but both are claimed by Palestinian groups who one day hope to use the area to set up their own country.