Shechem (Nablus)
Shechem (Nablus)Reuters

The Israeli mission to the United Nations responded Thursday to the condemnation of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk of the counterterrorism operation in Shechem (Nablus) yesterday in which seven terrorists and three civilians were killed.

"Today, the High Commissioner has once again chosen to release another one-sided statement devoid of context, turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism," the Israeli mission said in a statement.

"Yesterday, Israeli security forces sought to arrest three Palestinian terrorists responsible for carrying out deadly attacks on Israelis and who were preparing to carry out more horrific acts of terrorism. Israeli forces surrounded the terrorists and requested they turn themselves in. Instead, the terrorists opened fire, used explosives and threw Molotov cocktails from highly densely populated areas resulting in a wider exchange of fire. Israel regrets any innocent loss of life which may have occurred as a result.

"Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority continuously fails to take any action against terrorists operating in its territory. In fact, it does the contrary by actively encouraging terrorism through the brainwashing of Palestinian children and its own “pay-for-slay” policy.

"In addition to this, last night and this morning, terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip indiscriminately fired a number of rockets at Israeli civilians. In response, the Israel Defense Forces struck a Hamas weapon manufacturing site and a military compound, which was purposely located next to a mosque, school and military clinic. Hamas intentionally operates from within highly populated civilian areas, endangering Palestinian lives and using innocent Palestinians as human shields," the statement concluded.

Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, said: “Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism and will continue to do so while abiding by its international obligations. I call on the High Commissioner to focus on all the facts, to condemn Palestinian terrorism and to demand the Palestinian Authority acts against Palestinian terrorists and ends its “pay-for-slay” policy which encourages the murder of innocent Israelis.”

Yesterday (Wednesday), IDF soldiers, Border Police officers, and members of the elite Yamam special forces unit took part in an operation to arrest wanted terrorists in Shechem when they came under fire.

In the ensuing battle, seven terrorists were killed, including two who were involved in the murder of Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch. The 21-year-old soldier was shot and killed by terrorists last year near the town of Shavei Shomron in Samaria.

The seven slain terrorists included senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as a leader of the Balata Brigade and a Al Quds Brigades leader.

Three civilians were also killed in the battle, and over 100 people were injured according to the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli forces acted with restraint to prevent civilian casualties during the battle, such as when a soldier refused to fire at an armed terrorist because a child was behind the terrorist.