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.
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.