About 30 Israeli military vehicles raided Jenin in the early hours of Friday and surrounded a car in al-Marah area in the east of the city, firing shots at four men sitting inside. Three of them were killed and a fourth seriously injured.
Palestinian news agency Wafa named the men killed as Baraa Lahlouh (24), Yusuf Salah (23) and Laith Abu Suroor (24).
The Israeli army said in a brief message in Hebrew that it was conducting an operation to locate weapons from two different locations, and that they had been fired upon.
“Shots were identified towards the soldiers who thwarted the terrorists’ plans to target them,” the army said, adding that they found weapons, including two M-16 assault rifles and cartridges at the scene.
Residents in Jenin said they suspected the Israelis had intended to demolish the home of Raed Hazem, who carried out a shooting attack in Tel Aviv on April 7 that killed three Israelis before he was shot dead.
The Israeli army has ramped up raids in and around the occupied Jenin camp, in an attempt to crack down on growing Palestinian armed resistance there.
Fears are rampant of a possible large-scale Israeli invasion of the camp, where the armed wings of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah movements are active.
A string of Palestinian attacks since March has also killed 19 people in Israel.