Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinian gunmen in West Bank raid

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Israeli forces killed five Palestinian gunmen in a raid on a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, according to Israeli security officials. The raid, which the military said was meant to arrest suspects allegedly involved in a botched attack on Israelis, was likely to further exacerbate tensions in the region.

The Palestinian Health Ministry did not immediately confirm the deaths, saying only that three were injured, one of them critically.

The violence comes amid one of the deadliest periods in recent years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the first weeks of Israel’s new government, its most right-wing ever, which has promised to take a tough stance against the Palestinians.

The military said it was operating to apprehend the suspects behind a failed shooting attack at a West Bank restaurant, where attackers allegedly were thwarted by a weapon malfunction. The attackers then fled the scene, the military said, adding that they were members of the Hamas militant group that rules the Gaza Strip and has elements in the West Bank as well.

In Monday’s operation, the military said it was searching for the militant cell that it said had sealed itself inside a home in the refugee camp. During the search, troops encountered the gunmen and a gun battle erupted. The military said several of the gunmen who were killed were involved in the attempted attack on the restaurant.