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Israeli soldier killed in West Bank battle

Israeli troops surrounded two houses in Jenin on Thursday, setting off a fierce gunbattle with militants in the West Bank town. An Israeli soldier was killed.
Israeli soldiers aim their rifles in Jenin
Israeli soldiers aim their rifles from behind an army vehicle in the West Bank city of Jenin, on Thursday. Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

Israeli troops surrounded two houses in Jenin on Thursday, setting off a fierce gunbattle with militants in the West Bank town, the army and Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli soldier was killed.

The soldiers called on loudspeakers for militants inside the houses to surrender, witnesses said. A gunbattle erupted, and the soldier was killed, the army said.

One militant came running out early on in the gunbattle, and four others surrendered later on, the army added.

Militants in Jenin said between four and six militants from Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades had been holed up inside the houses.

Palestinians run behind an Israeli army vehicle in the West Bank city of Jenin March 16, 2006. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen fought each other in the West Bank city of Jenin, hours after gunmen shot and wounded two Israeli motorists near a Jewish settlement. The spike in violence followed the army's capture of six Palestinian militants in a West Bank prison raid on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mohamad TorokmanMohamad Torokman / X80004

Palestinian gunmen immediately took to the streets, exchanging fire with troops. Palestinian students threw stones at Israeli soldiers, and an army bulldozer tried to disperse the crowd. Soldiers took over homes in the area, taking up position and fighting with gunmen.

The Jenin operation came two days after the army conducted a dramatic prison raid in the West Bank town of Jericho, spiriting away six militants, including the alleged mastermind of the 2001 assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister.