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Israeli Raids in West Bank Continue Despite Peace Initiative Discussions


Israeli troops shot dead an armed Palestinian and destroyed two homes in the West Bank Tuesday as part of continuing operations against suspected militants. The raids come as Palestinian militant groups prepare to meet in Egypt this week to consider a possible suspension of attacks against Israel.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a wanted member of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in the West Bank town of Jenin.

The shooting came after troops in armored vehicles entered the town and began house-to-house searches for militants. Gun battles erupted between Palestinian militants and soldiers.

Residents said they later found the body of Amjad Saadi, a militant from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, an armed wing of Fatah.

Palestinian officials accused Israel of deliberating escalating the violence and threatening upcoming truce talks in Cairo involving Islamic militant groups.

The Palestinian leadership wants the groups to agree to a cease-fire with Israel to set the stage for a possible resumption of peace talks.

The Israeli army defended its actions, saying the suspect in Jenin had been wanted in connection with several shooting attacks.

Later, in a village close to Jenin, Israeli troops destroyed the homes of two members of the Islamic Jihad, a group that has carried out numerous suicide bombings and other terror attacks.

It was the second West Bank raid in as many days following a relative lull in fighting.

On Monday, Israeli forces killed three members of Hamas, a group listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization, and a nine-year-old boy in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israeli troops also blew up an apartment building in the city, leaving 60 people homeless.

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