(Jerusalem) Two Palestinian fighters who opened fire on Israeli soldiers were killed Tuesday in the northern occupied West Bank, the latest episode in a spiral of violence in the Middle East.

The Israeli army said it opened fire and “neutralized two assailants” who fired from their vehicle in the direction of Elon Moreh’s military position, located near the Palestinian city of Nablus.

In pursuit of other suspects, the soldiers discovered several weapons in the area, including two M-16s, according to a military statement which specifies that there were no injuries in the ranks of the army.

“I commend the soldiers who eliminated two terrorists who opened fire on them near Elon Moreh,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant wrote on Twitter.

“The soldiers prevented an attack on Israeli civilians,” he added, hailing “a successful operation.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the two men as Saud Abdallah Saud al-Titi and Mohammad Ghazi Abu Dhraa.

In a statement, the Fatah movement said they belonged to its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and were from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.

Near Elon Moreh, an AFP photographer saw Israeli soldiers introduce a body into an ambulance and others inspect a white car with windows pierced by bullets.

The West Bank, a Palestinian territory, has been occupied since 1967 by Israel. Nearly three million Palestinians live there, along with around 490,000 Jewish settlers, in settlements considered by the UN to be illegal under international law.

Tuesday’s exchanges of fire come against the backdrop of an outbreak of violence since the start of the year, which has been particularly marked for almost a week.

This was punctuated by deadly attacks, rocket fire from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, followed by Israeli reprisals, after the brutal irruption, on April 5, in the middle of Ramadan, of the Israeli police in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

On Tuesday, a British-Israeli woman fatally injured in an attack, which also claimed the lives of two of her daughters on Friday, was laid to rest in the settlement of Kfar Etzion, between Jerusalem and Hebron.

Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of at least 96 Palestinians, 19 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources.

These figures include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised to “restore security” in his country after yet another outburst of violence.

“I promise you, we will reach out to all the vile terrorists who have killed our citizens and they will be held to account, without exception,” he said.

Mr. Netanyahu also announced that he had reversed his decision announced at the end of March to dismiss his Minister of Defense. Yoav Gallant was publicly moved by the division caused in the country by the justice reform project wanted by the government and had asked for a pause in the process.