Israeli troops have shot and killed a senior commander of the Islamic militant group Hamas. Hamas has vowed to avenge the killing.

Amjad Hanawi the commander of the armed wing of Hamas in the northern West Bank was killed as he tried to escape Israeli forces who were raiding a home in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Uvoal Bazak, a senior Israeli military commander in the West Bank told Israel Radio that Amjad Hanawi had been involved in attacks against Israel for nearly a decade and that he was an important commander in Hamas.

The Israeli military commander says the Hamas militant headed a cell in Nablus that was planning a large scale attack against Israelis.

At least a half dozen alleged Hamas militants were arrested in the raid, and Israeli authorities have arrested nearly 30 other Palestinians in the area.

The raid took place just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where she urged Palestinian authorities to do more to disarm Palestinian militant groups like Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzedine al Qassam has threatened retaliation against Israel. Palestinian groups and Israel have been observing an unofficial truce since March of this year, despite several suicide bombings in Israel by Palestinian militants, and continued military operations against Palestinian militant groups by Israel.