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Israel Continues Raiding West Bank Palestinian Area - 2002-06-03

The Israeli military is continuing its raids into Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, rounding up hundreds of Palestinians for questioning about recent suicide bombings and shooting attacks.

Israeli troops in armored personnel carriers, backed by tanks, entered the Ain Bet-Alma refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus. Soldiers using loudspeakers ordered all young Palestinian men to come out of their homes. Witnesses say hundreds were taken away in buses and military trucks to a nearby army base for questioning.

The army has been searching for militants in Nablus and another refugee camp, Balata, since late last week. The army says troops blew up two houses where bomb laboratories were discovered.

Soldiers in armored vehicles also entered the West Bank town of Qalqilya, declaring a curfew, conducting searches and making arrests.

The military sweeps came as the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet is continuing his mission to the Middle East. Mr. Tenet is meeting top Israeli and Palestinian officials as part of a diplomatic effort to end more than 20-months of violence.

Mr. Tenet is expected to focus on efforts to reform the Palestinian security services to resume counter-terrorism cooperation with Israel.