TEL AVIV – In a case of mistaken identity, IDF soldiers exchanged heavy fire with Palestinian security forces in the northern West Bank city of Nablus overnight Tuesday.
“During operations to arrest terrorist operatives in the city of Nablus, a firefight broke out between IDF soldiers and people who were identified by the troops as suspects. After the fact, it was determined that it was Palestinian security services personnel,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that no Israeli soldiers sustained injuries.
“The incident will be investigated,” it said.
The PA on Tuesday refused to conduct a joint investigation with the IDF into the incident.
“We rejected an Israeli request to form a joint committee to investigate the shooting incident,” said Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank.
Damiri added that the shootout lasted more than two hours.
The governor of Nablus, Ibrahim Ramadan, said that Israeli forces opened fire “surprisingly and unjustifiably” on the first, second and third floors of a Palestinian security services building. A member of the PA’s security forces was wounded, he said according to the PA’s Wafa news agency.
“The bullets penetrated the office through the windows,” he said.
“This is not the first time and will not be the last that the occupation army harms our people, but the dangerous part in this incident is that a Palestinian military headquarters was targeted,” Ramadan told Wafa.
He also said that the IDF did not give advance notification to the Palestinian District Coordination Office before entering Nablus.
According to the Hebrew-language Ynet news site, however, other PA security officials played down the incident. An unnamed Palestinian official said, “We believe the incident in Nablus is the result of a misunderstanding. It is being investigated and the communication with the Israeli security establishment continues.”
The IDF arrested 18 Palestinian terror suspects overnight, the army said.