At least nine Palestinians killed in West Bank and Gaza Strip; Israeli troops re-enter Bethlehem
At least nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday, while five Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously.
Israeli soldiers shot and killed Jamal Nader, a leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigade in Tulkarem. Palestinian witnesses said that an Israeli undercover unit dragged Nader's body away after the shooting.
Earlier, the local leader of the Islamic Jihad was killed in the West Bank town of Qabatiyah, near Jenin. The man was identified as Hamza Abu Rub. During this incident, an Israeli officer and three soldiers were lightly wounded.
Early Thursday, troops surrounded the two-story home of Abu Rub and demanded that he surrender, the army and residents said. Abu Rub then appeared near the wall of his house and began shooting, drawing heavy return fire. Bursts of gunfire and the sounds of explosions echoed through the town, residents said, according to AP.
Elsewhere, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in Ramallah - Tanzim activist Fanal Shilani, Hamas activist Bassam al-Askar and bystander Mahadi Obayad.
In Nablus, two Tanzim members were killed during an exchange of fire with the Israeli army. Later in the day, soldiers re-imposed a curfew on Nablus. Hundreds of Palestinians threw stones at soldiers who opened fire, killing a Palestinian teenager, witnesses said.
The teenager, who witnesses was carrying books and was not involved in stone-throwing, was killed by a shot in the stomach, hospital sources said.
In Bethlehem, Israeli troops fired teargas at Palestinians shopping near the town center, ordering them by loudspeakers to return home, and resumed patrols in front of the Church of the Nativity. "The curfew was put back in place a short time ago for operational needs," an Israeli military source said.
Meanwhile, Hamas issued a statement in the Gaza Strip saying that one of its men were killed on early Thursday by Israeli tankfire as he approached the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.
A Hamas spokesman said the man was in the area to observe Israeli troop movements. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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