Accessibility links

Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Gunman


Israeli troops have shot and killed a Palestinian gunman during a raid in a West Bank refugee camp.

The Israeli military says the man died in a gun battle with Israeli soldiers in the camp outside the town of Jenin Monday.

Palestinian sources identified the man as a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group associated with the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli officials say they want to help strengthen the new Palestinian government based in the West Bank now that the militant group Hamas is not included.

On Sunday, Israel began transferring tax funds to the Palestinian Authority. A $120 million payment was received Sunday by the government Mr. Abbas formed after Hamas seized control of Gaza last month.

Palestinian officials estimate that Israel owes some $700 million in withheld tax revenues. Israeli officials say the figure is lower because Palestinian debts are being deducted from the total.

Israel suspended the transfers after Hamas won Palestinian elections early last year.

In other developments, Israel has vowed to push ahead with a crackdown on Palestinian militants, following a wave of deadly Israeli air strikes targeting militants in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet Sunday that Israel will continue pinpoint raids against Palestinian militants planning attacks on Israeli civilians. He also said the army would continue raids in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Hamas has seized a leading member of a radical Islamic militant group which claims to be holding kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston.

A top Hamas official says the group's security force detained Army of Islam spokesman, Abu Khatab al-Maqdisi, Monday in Gaza, after he and several other militants opened fire on force members. The official claims the Army of Islam kidnapped 10 Hamas university students after Maqdisi's capture.

Hamas has demanded the release of BBC reporter Johnston, who was abducted on March 12 in Gaza.

Tensions between the Army of Islam and Hamas have mounted since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip last month.

The Army of Islam has threatened to kill Johnston if Britain and other countries do not release certain prisoners.

Hamas officials say they arrested several people involved in the BBC correspondent's kidnapping after the failure of peaceful efforts to free him.

The Army of Islam has posted videos of Johnston on militant web sites.

In related news, Norwegian state media say an Arabic television reporter in the Gaza Strip has taken refuge in Norway after being beaten up and threatened for calling Johnston's kidnappers criminals.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG