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Israeli Troops Continue Raids in West Bank


A major Israeli raid in the West Bank town of Nablus is in its second day. One armed Palestinian has been killed. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel describes the operation as a counter-terrorism measure, while the Palestinians say it is a provocation that raises regional tensions.

Hundreds of Israeli troops are conducting house to house searches in the West Bank town of Nablus. The raid is focusing on the densely populated alleyways of the Casbah or Old City.

There have been sporadic exchanges of fire between soldiers and Palestinians militants. The army says it is searching for seven top fugitives, wanted for planning suicide bombings and other attacks.

Troops broke into transmissions of local radio and TV stations, and broadcast the names of the men, all residents of the Casbah.

Some 50,000 Palestinians are under curfew.

A Nablus resident said Israeli troops have taken over many homes and buildings, causing enormous suffering to the people.

During the searches, soldiers uncovered two bomb factories, and from Israel's point of view, that is sufficient justification for the raid.

Israeli spokeswoman Miri Eisen said, "We have to give security; we have to give defense for all of our Israeli citizens."

Palestinian officials say the incursion harms efforts by moderate President Mahmoud Abbas to revive peace talks with Israel. But Israel says that until Mr. Abbas curbs terrorism, there is little hope of advancing the peace process.

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