(JTA) – Four people were killed in Nablus in clashes between Palestinian security forces and terror suspects.
The violence began Thursday night when two members of the Palestinian security forces were killed and two more were injured, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported. The report did not say who shot them or under what circumstances.
According to AFP, the officers were deployed in the Old City of Nablus to collect illegally owned weapons.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority co-operate on security, including on arrests of Palestinians in areas under the Authority’s jurisdiction who are suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Israel.
Several hours later, two armed terror suspects were killed in Nablus during a raid by security forces who were searching for the shooters responsible for the earlier deaths.
The spokesperson for the Palestinian security forces, Adnan Dmeiri, told Ma’an that five security officers have been killed in the past month in clashes with extremists.
The clashes come at a sensitive time for the Palestinian Authority, where 300 local authorities are preparing for municipal elections on October 8. The previous regional elections in the West Bank, where general elections have not been held since 2006, ended in failure after only 90 municipalities opened voting ballots. Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed it had won those elections.
Hamas, the Islamist terror group that in 2007 took over the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup after its 2006 victory in the general elections failed to translate into obtaining executive power, boycotted the 2012 regional elections. Hamas and Fatah have been conducting talks on sharing power since 2011. Despite announcing breakthroughs several times, the two parties have not been able to forge a lasting partnership.
The officers killed Thursday were identified as Shibli Ibrahim Abed Bani Shamseh, 27, from the village of Beita and Mahmoud Tarayra from Bani Naim.