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Israel Continues Military Operations Across West Bank - 2002-06-30

Israeli forces continued their military operations across the West Bank Sunday, including a raid on a refugee camp near Ramallah. The raid came as Israel also announced it planned to dismantle what it described as 10 illegal Jewish outposts in the territory.

Israeli troops Sunday swept into the Palestinian al-Amri refugee camp and arrested all of the camp's male residents above the age of 15. The soldiers took the men to a nearby school, where they were detained for questioning.

Palestinian officials say some of the men at the camp in the Ramallah area had been released after a short interrogation.

The raid came shortly after the Israeli army announced it was abandoning its search for 15 wanted Palestinian fugitives in the rubble of the Palestinian Authority administration building in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The militants, who were believed to be inside the building, were not found. This has led to claims by the Palestinian Authority that the wanted men had managed to escape before the building was demolished by the army in a series of controlled explosions.

Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Preventive Security service in the West Bank, said that as far as he was aware, no one was inside at the time of the detonations.

In a separate development, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer says he will uproot 10 outposts established in the West Bank by Jewish settlers without the permission of the government.

But the announcement appeared to have little effect on Palestinian militant groups.

Israel suspects Palestinians were behind the detonation of a bomb on a train line near the central Israeli city of Lod. Three people were wounded, and minor damage was caused to one of the cars by the explosion.