An IDF airstrike on Saturday killed five Palestinian terrorists, including Mahmoud a-Zoufi, a commander of al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and wounded two other people in the Fatah headquarters in Balata camp near Nablus, IDF and Palestinian sources said.
The IDF confirmed the strike, which was rare before July of this year (prior to that date there had not been airstrikes in the West Bank since the Second Intifada) as part of a joint IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation.
In a statement, the military said it struck “a number of terrorists [in Balata]… and prevented terror attacks against Israeli civilians”.
Among those terrorists killed were Mohammad Zahed, a key commander in Nablus’s terrorist activities.
Zahed took part in various Nablus shooting attacks, but also in an April 2023 shooting in Jerusalem, wounding two Israeli civilians and was reportedly planning additional terror acts.
During the operation, Israeli forces dismantled an explosives production location in the area, including seizing a number of ready-to-use devices.
Moreover, the IDF found improvised explosive devices concealed under and next to the sides of the road.
IDF forces came under fire from terrorists during the operation and returned fire.
No soldiers were injured.
Five claimed as fighters
A military wing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party claimed the five dead as its fighters, though Abbas generally keeps such groups at arm’s length.
At least 186 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the October 7 Hamas attack, according to UN figures, with the IDF saying most were terrorists, such as those killed on Thursday during a terror attack near Gush Etzion.
Another eight have been allegedly killed by settlers since October 7.
Separately, the IDF over the weekend arrested 19 terror suspects, 11 of whom are connected to Hamas, bringing the total new arrestees from the West Bank since October 7 to 1,800, 1,050 of whom are connected to Hamas.