Five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army raid in the West Bank city of Tulkarem overnight, one of them was an Islamic Jihad operative and the other four were civilians, Palestinian sources reported.

Israeli sources claimed that undercover Duvdevan unit entered Tulkarem as part of an ‘arrest operation’ targeting Islamic Jihad operatives.

Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades vowed a ‘painful revenge’ for the killing of the five Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei condemned the raid, and the assassination, describing it as a “brutal crime”.

Qurei added that this attacks shows that Israeli is not interested in calm, and called on the international community to act against the Israeli violations.

Also, Qurei slammed the Israeli plans of settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially around Jerusalem, which “will not leave any chances for a viable Palestinian state”.

The Israeli intelligence service claims that one of the killed was involved in planning the bombing of the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv.

The undercover Duvdevan squad is a special unit in the Israeli army for assassination.

According to Israeli sources, the Duvdevan unit entered a cafe where the claimed wanted men were. One of the soldiers fire one shot in the air and called on the wanted men to surrender, which broke a gun battle.  Four were killed at the spot, and the fifth died later of his wounds.

Palestinians identified the killed residents as Adel Abu Khaleel, 26, from the village of Atteel near Tulkarem, member of Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, Majdi Atteyah, 20, member of Al Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fateh, Mahmoud Ismail Hdeib, 18, and Anas Abu Zreinah, 16 years old.

A fifth resident, identified as Ahmad Othman 17, from Tulkarem refugee camp, died of his wounds at an Israeli hospital.

Israel handed over the security control over Tulkarem to the Palestinian Authority together with Jericho in March following the Sharm Al-Sheikh agreement in which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and declared cease-fire and Israel committed to quit five Palestinian cities.  Israel failed to hand over more cities.

This is the first assassination Israeli security forces carries out since the implementation of the disengagement plan started on August 15.