Israeli raid in West Bank spurs violent clashes

Two members of Hamas were taken by Israeli troops but an Islamic Jihad leader had managed to evade arrest

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At least five Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were wounded during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank late on Monday to arrest militants, Palestinian medical sources and Israeli media said.

The Israeli army confirmed that forces were operating in the occupied West Bank but declined to give further details of the nature of the raid, or of casualties.

A Hamas source in the town of Jenin in the northern West Bank said two members of the Islamist faction were taken by Israeli troops but a senior leader of the smaller Islamic Jihad group, Bassam al-Saadi, had managed to evade arrest.

Local residents said during the raid, heavy gunfire broke out in fighting between the troops and Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters.

Palestinian medical sources said the five wounded suffered injuries from rubber bullets but further details were not immediately available.

Israel Radio said one special forces soldier had suffered moderate wounds during the clash and was being treated in hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

Israeli troops enter Palestinian-controlled territory frequently to detain people suspected of militant activity. The Palestinians condemn this practice as an encroachment on the limited self-rule they hold in parts of the West Bank.

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