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Palestinian PM Protests Israeli West Bank Raid

Israeli troops have raided the West Bank town of Nablus, in an operation that Palestinian officials say undermines the embattled government of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli military says soldiers riding in more than 50 vehicles searched homes for wanted militants and imposed a curfew. At least two Palestinians were arrested and five Israeli soldiers wounded in the operation.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says Israel is trying to sabotage Palestinian efforts to improve security. He heads the emergency government created after the militant group Hamas seized Gaza earlier this month.

Israel has pledged to support the government of President Abbas, but officials said Thursday they will continue to conduct operations against militants.

On Wednesday, troops raided the Gaza Strip, killing at least 12 Palestinians in an operation targeting Palestinian rocket teams.

Also Wednesday, the international Middle East Quartet named Britain's Tony Blair as its envoy to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Quartet is made of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

The Quartet said recent events in the Gaza Strip and West Bank make it more urgent than ever to advance the search for peace in the Middle East.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in fighting with Mr. Abbas's faction faction earlier this month.

Hamas says it does not expect Mr. Blair to be impartial because he has previously supported American and Israeli positions.

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