Israeli special forces killed two Palestinian security officers in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian authorities said, in what an Israeli source described as possible misidentification during an operation targeting wanted gunmen.
The internationally-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) coordinates security with Israel in the West Bank despite long-stalled diplomatic talks. PA personnel seldom clash with Israeli counterparts and usually keep clear of Israel’s West Bank raids.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment on the overnight incident in Jenin, in which the Palestinian health ministry said a third person was also critically wounded.
An Israeli security source said that a Palestinian gunman was killed. The source said Israeli special forces, some undercover, went into the town to detain gunmen suspected of having recently attacked Israeli troops.
The sides exchanged fire, resulting in the killing of one gunman and wounding of another, who was detained, the source said. Palestinian security officers, summoned from a nearby compound by the gunfire, shot at the Israelis, the source said.
“It appears that the unit they fired on was undercover,” the source said. “Our forces fired back, apparently thinking that the shooting from the Palestinian security men was part of the clash with the wanted terrorists.”
Palestinian officials did not immediately provide further details about the clash. Jenin sources said a member of the militant Islamic Jihad faction was killed in the incident. The Palestinian health ministry did not immediately confirm this.