Five Palestinian militants have been killed in a raid by the Israeli army in the West Bank.
There were exchanges of fire at various locations during the broad operation against members of the Islamist Hamas organization, Israeli media reported on Sunday, citing the army.
The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed that three Palestinians were killed north-west of Jerusalem and two others near the Palestinian town of Jenin in the northern West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke of an operation by the security forces targeting “Hamas terrorists who were on the verge of carrying out terrorist attacks.”
“The killing of today’s martyrs is the result of the continuous security coordination with the [Israeli] occupation and the fruit of the normalization meetings held by [Palestinian Authoprity] leaders with Israeli ministers and Knesset members in Ramallah a few days ago,” Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanou said.
“It is a continuation of crimes against our people,” al-Qanou said.
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 a 1967 war, but both are claimed by Palestinian groups who one day hope to use the area to set up their own country.
Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU.
Israel had engaged in an 11-day military conflict with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in May. Egypt eventually brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which came into effect on May 21.