Palestinian police say two of their officers were slain by Palestinian criminals, who were later killed in a shootout in the West Bank.

Spokesman Adnan Dmairi said the criminals shot and killed two officers and wounded two others on Thursday. A chase to catch the killers ended early Friday in a shootout in Nablus, he said.

Dmairi said Palestinian police were "determined to uproot the crime and lawlessness from our society."

Two policemen were killed in the city a month ago in a similar incident that illustrates the growing lawlessness in the West Bank.

Palestinian police have struggled to crack down on widespread illegal gun possession in the territory.

The Palestinian Authority says it is determined to maintain security and order in the parts of the territory under its control.