Among the dead is Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, the apparent target of the Israeli raid. The other men killed have been named by Palestinian health ministry officials as Islam Sabbouh and Hussein Jamal Taha.
A statement from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), an informal affiliation of smaller armed groups, hailed the death of the three men as a heroic act of resistance.
Although closely linked, the PRC sees itself as separate from the armed wings of the militant groups Islamic Jihad (the Quds Brigades) and Hamas (the Qassam Brigades).
Israel accused Al Nabulsi of involvement in a series of recent shooting attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.
Israeli forces surrounded a building in the old city of Nablus early Tuesday before attacking it with a shoulder-fired missile, an Israeli statement said, prompting an exchange of fire.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, said on Telegram that its members in Nablus were involved in “violent clashes with enemy special forces when they stormed the old city.”
Some 40 people were injured, several seriously, in the violent exchanges, in addition to the three men killed, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
An Islamic Jihad spokesman told CNN on Tuesday that Israel was arresting and killing without accountability.
“That is why we decided to resist with our weapons. If we don’t find weapons, we will resist with stones, but we will not surrender,” spokesman Daoud Shihab said.
Tuesday’s incursion comes on the heels of the worst hostilities between Israel and militants in Gaza in more than a year. On Friday, Israel launched what it called preemptive strikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the coastal enclave. At least 44 Palestinian militants and civilians, including 15 children, were killed in the violence, according to Palestinian officials, before a ceasefire was agreed on Sunday night.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that the operation had “restored deterrence.”
“All of our goals were achieved. The entire Islamic Jihad military high command in Gaza was successfully attacked within three days,” he said.
The operation also affected the civilian population of Gaza. Israel and Egypt have imposed a closure on Gaza since 2007, limiting access to the territory by land, air and sea, including strict restrictions on the movement of residents and the flow of goods.
Gaza’s only power station was forced to shut down on Saturday after running out of fuel, leading to drastic cuts in electricity supply for the territory’s two million people. Fuel transportation resumed Monday through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing for the first time in a week, following the truce agreement.
Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two main militant groups in Gaza, fired around 1,175 rockets at Israel during the escalation, according to Israeli figures, mainly at Israeli communities near Gaza. The group also launched rockets towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Around 185 rockets landed inside Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Monday. The Iron Dome air defense system, which is deployed against any fire assessed to be a threat to people or buildings, and which intercepted rockets fired at Jerusalem, was operating with a 96% success rate, it said on Monday. an IDF spokesman.
A senior Israeli diplomatic official, speaking to reporters on Monday, appeared to acknowledge that Israel’s campaign may have been responsible for some civilian deaths as well as militants, saying initial assessments were that “most” of the casualties civilians were the result of errant rockets. fire of Islamic Jihad. Civilian casualties have always been a tragedy, the official said.
In one incident on Saturday, four children were among seven people killed in an explosion in Jabaliya, northern Gaza. The Palestinian Health Ministry said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but Israel rejected the claim, blaming errant rocket fire. The IDF released a video showing what it said was an Islamic Jihad rocket apparently suddenly losing power and falling to the ground over a built-up area.