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5 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raid on Refugee Camp


Israeli forces killed at least five Palestinians during a raid on a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Jenin. Palestinian witnesses said a column of 10 Israeli tanks, backed by helicopter gunships, entered the camp and surrounded a house said to be used by members of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said shooting erupted when men inside the house began firing at the soldiers.

The Ha'aretz newspaper reported on its website that after the firefight a number of automatic weapons were found along with Israeli army uniforms.

The Jenin refugee camp was the scene of fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants a year ago. That operation followed a string of suicide attacks in Israel.

The Israeli military also said it killed five wanted members of the militant group Hamas in an operation late Thursday in the village of Tamoun, near Jenin. Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel since the Palestinian uprising began 29 months ago.

Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erikat said the Israeli action was "a new massacre in the West Bank." He called on the international community to intervene to stop Israel from, as he put it, "continuing to exploit the crisis in Iraq to carry out its aggressive plans in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

More than 30 Palestinians have been arrested in West Bank operations during the past 24 hours.

Israel has intensified military operations in Palestinian areas in recent months in a renewed effort to stop attacks on Israelis.

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