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Israeli Forces Kill Top Islamic Jihad Terrorist, 6 Other Palestinians


Israeli raids in the West Bank Sunday killed seven Palestinians, including one who Israeli officials call a mastermind of Islamic Jihad suicide bombings.

Israeli forces surrounded a house near the West Bank town of Jenin searching for militants. The soldiers opened fire when the suspects refused to surrender and shot at the Israelis.

The army later bulldozed the house.

The dead include Elias al-Ashkar, who Israeli officials say was a top Islamic Jihad terrorist, responsible for a number of recent suicide bombings inside Israel.

The latest attack blamed on Islamic Jihad killed 11 people at a Tel Aviv cafe April 17. An American teenager wounded in the bombing died Sunday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Sunday's Israeli military raid a grave escalation that will lead to more violence and instability.

In another development, Israel's Supreme Court has upheld a controversial law restricting West Bank Palestinians from living with relatives in Israel. The law says only Palestinian women older than 25 and men older than 35 are eligible to join their families in Israel and eventually receive citizenship.

Critics call the law racist and have demanded its repeal. The Israeli government says the law is aimed at boosting security inside Israel.

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