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3 Nablus residents detained after deadly shooting of Palestinian security officers

Aug. 21, 2016 12:54 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2016 6:31 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinian security forces detained three Nablus residents accused of being involved in a shooting on Thursday which left two security officers killed and two others injured, the governor of the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, Akram Rujoub, said Sunday morning.

Two Palestinians were also killed by security forces in the manhunt that ensued following the shooting.

Rujoub told Ma’an that the suspects were caught in a raid on the Old City of Nablus around dawn on Saturday. During the raid, Palestinian security forces seized automatic weapons and ammunition which were purchased inside Israel.

Palestinian security forces spokesman Adnan Dmeiri said in a news conference in Ramallah on Sunday that security forces would continue their crackdown in the Old City of Nablus until “the phenomenon of illegal weapon possession is brought to an end.”

Dmeiri said that Palestinian security forces found firearms, ammunition, and anti-tank missiles in Nablus’ Old City, which he said were obtained from Israel.

“This gang has never pointed a weapon to the Israeli occupation,” Dmeiri added, accusing Israel of working to destroy civil security and the national fabric in Palestinian society. 

“We have the names of the gangsters suspected of shooting at security forces. Two were killed on Friday, three have been arrested, and six are being pursued,” Dmeiri said, adding that “security forces won’t withdraw from the old city of Nablus before the six are arrested and brought to justice.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesperson Yousif al-Mahmoud said in a statement that the arrests came as part of the PA’s “continuous effort to provide safety and security for citizens in all districts.”

Al-Mahmoud said identified the two suspects as Wail Hani Halawah and Ali Halawah from Nablus, adding that they were among “the most wanted people in the West Bank.”

The detentions came amid a widespread manhunt for several gunmen involved in the shooting, who opened fire on security officers when clashes erupted during a raid in Nablus. Two Palestinian security officers were were critically injured and later pronounced dead, and two more were wounded. Overnight the following day, Palestinian security forces killed two Palestinians during raids in search for the gunmen.

According to Dmeiri, five security officers have been killed in the past month.

The arrests come amid a crackdown by PA security forces on criminal activity in the West Bank, with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announcing in July plans to amend the penal code and "arrest all fugitives and put them to justice.”

Nablus was also the site of a deadly shooting at the end of June, which resulted in two Palestinian security officers being killed and at least 13 civilians reportedly wounded after a gunman opened fire on a police officer’s home.

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