Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians in Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

Local sources told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that their bodies were being withheld by the Israelis and ambulances were not allowed to approach the scene.

In a statement, the Shin Bet internal security service said: "In an operation by the special forces... in the Hebron/Yatta area, two members of a Salafist jihadist network that was active in the area and planned an attack were killed."

Reports said there had been an exchange of gunfire between the Palestinians and the Israeli unit. A number of explosive devices and two guns were found in their vehicle, an Israeli official told the Reuters news agency.

The Israeli ministry said a third was killed by gunfire after the initial clash.

Palestinian security officials confirmed that three men had been killed but were unsure of their affiliation.

At least 30 Palestinians have been killed in 2013 by Israeli forces - 12 since peace talks were resumed in late July.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies