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Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Man in West Bank Raid - 2004-02-01

Israeli troops raiding the West Bank enclave of Jericho have killed a man they said was a wanted Palestinian militant. The Israeli army says the operation is aimed at arresting Palestinians suspected of plotting a terrorist attack.

Israeli soldiers, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, surrounded a house in Jericho suspected of being the hideout of Palestinian fugitives.

During the raid, the troops were attacked by Palestinian gunmen and returned fire, Israeli army officials said. One suspected militant was killed and at least two others wounded.

The dead man was identified as Shadi Jaradat, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.

The group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a bus Thursday in Jerusalem. That attack killed at least 11 people.

The bomber came from a refugee camp near the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Israeli troops raided the Bethlehem area on Saturday, arresting three Palestinians.

Israel's raids in the West Bank following the suicide bombing have angered the Palestinian leadership.

During the operation in Jericho, the Israeli soldiers forced residents to stay in their homes on the first of the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The troops also demolished the home where the wanted Palestinians had gone into hiding.

The Palestinian minister for negotiations, Saeb Erekat, a resident of Jericho, condemned the military incursion during the Muslim holiday. He says that instead of celebrating, residents of Jericho found themselves under military curfew.

Israeli troops frequently raid many parts of the West Bank.

The Israeli government says such operations will continue as long as the Palestinian Authority refuses to halt attacks by armed Palestinians.