In a separate raid, IDF troops detained two suspected suicide bombers. One was arrested in Nablus and the second in the nearby village of Assira Shimaliya.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s security adviser, David Baker, on 17 December said that Nablus had become a particular worry for the Israeli military. ‘Nablus has become a hub of terror activity,’ Baker told the local daily Haaretz. ‘Since early October, after the suicide bombing at Maxim restaurant [in Haifa], Israel has prevented 13 suicide attacks against civilians inside Israel and five in the West Bank, which had originated in Nablus. The IDF search and arrest operation overnight was geared to prevent further attacks on the citizens of Israel.’