Three Palestinians accused by Israel of carrying out a recent spate of attacks have been shot dead in an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian media said the men belonged to the military wing of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
Israeli police said they were killed after trying to shoot at an undercover unit in Nablus. The Palestinian Authority called it an “execution”.
It is the highest single death toll in an action of this kind for months.
In September, five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli operation in the West Bank. Israel said all five belonged to the Gaza-based militant group Hamas, which said four were members.
In Tuesday’s incident, the three Palestinians were shot dead inside a silver vehicle parked by the side of road. Pictures showed the windscreen and the bonnet riddled with bullet holes.
It is rare for operations like this to take place in the daytime, the Times of Israel newspaper reports. It says it is also unusual for the targets to belong to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Barlev tweeted in Hebrew that the militants had been responsible for a series of attacks against Jews in recent weeks.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wrote: “Our forces have proven today, once again, that there is no immunity for terrorists. Whoever harms us – will be harmed.”
The Palestinian foreign ministry meanwhile condemned the killings as a “field execution”.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades has not commented, but the rival Hamas group said the men died “resisting the occupation” and that “their work will be carried on to achieve victory”.