Fifty Israeli army armored vehicles, including tanks, raided the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank early Tuesday.
The invasion of the Balata refugee camp near the northern West Bank city of Nablus was backed by two U.S.-made Apache helicopter gunships, Palestinian sources said.
Israeli troops seized four multi-storey buildings on the outskirts of the refugee camp and proceeded to carry out a house-to-house search with sniffer dogs, the sources added.
For its part, the Israeli army said it was a routine operation to arrest Palestinian activists.
Elsewhere, an elderly civilian was seriously wounded in the head due to "violent beating" by Israeli troops manning a checkpoint in Tulkarem, Palestinian sources reported Tuesday. The 67-year old Jabr Mar'ei, from the town of Zeeta, was severely beaten by the troops who were guarding the "security fence" near the town, a thing that led to a severe hemorrhage in Mar'ei's brain, hospital sources in the city of Nablus said.
Meanwhile, Israel will coordinate any unilateral moves in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the United States, Israel's foreign minister Silvan Shalom said Tuesday, after meeting with Bush administration officials who oppose any actions that will make it harder to establish a Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is set to announce in a major policy speech later this week that he will take unilateral steps if there is no progress on the so-called "Road Map" plan within six months, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
Unilateral moves would include the completion of a West Bank "separation barrier", as well as the dismantling of some Jewish settlements, the reports said, citing legislators whom Sharon briefed on his plans in recent days. (Albawaba.com)
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