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Israeli Army Ends Operation in Nablus

Israel's army has left the West Bank town of Nablus ending an intense, three-day operation aimed at finding Palestinian militants and their weapons.

The army says it arrested 20 suspected militants during the operation which ended Saturday. It also discovered arms and explosives.

Palestinian authorities say at least 40 Palestinians were injured in the operation. There were no Israeli casualties.

Earlier today, the Israeli army placed tens of thousands of residents in Nablus under curfew while carrying out the raid.

The sweep began Thursday when hundreds of Israeli soldiers entered Nablus. The town has been a hub of Palestinian militant and criminal activity, and is a frequent target of Israeli raids and extended curfews.

On Friday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Israel's raid on Nablus harmed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, just days before President Bush is scheduled to arrive in the region for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr. Fayyad also said the Israeli operation hurt efforts by the Palestinian Authority to carry out a security plan in Nablus.

The Palestinian Authority recently deployed hundreds of forces as part of an attempt to crack down on the violence in Nablus and prove to Israel that it can fulfill the security responsibilities of statehood.

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

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