Two Palestinian militants were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers early Monday, and Israel Radio said one of the dead was the leader of the Islamic Jihad military wing in the West Bank. Soldiers took the bodies and the Israeli military did not release the names of those killed. One soldier was lightly injured.
The gun battle erupted during what the army said was an arrest raid in the Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern West Bank.
It began when a Palestinian opened fire on troops from a car, the army said. Soldiers returned fire, killing the man. Camp residents said the vehicle, a white Subaru, had been hit by dozens of bullets.
Nearby, an armed Palestinian aimed his weapon at soldiers and prepared to shoot at them, the army said. Soldiers opened fire, killing him. Residents said the man was killed on the stairway of a building, and that they saw a large puddle of blood near the door.
Israel Radio said one of the gunmen was Luay Saadi, leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad is not party to a temporary truce accepted earlier this year by its larger sister group Hamas. Islamic Jihad has carried out a series of attacks on Israelis during the cease-fire, including two suicide bombings that killed a total of 10 Israelis, the AP informs.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, another violent group, identified the second gunmen as one of its membres, Majed al Askar. Al Aqsa has ties to the ruling Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Six Palestinians were arrested during the Tulkarem raid. Dozens of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and undergo searches during the operation, which continued past dawn, residents of the town said.
The army carries out arrest operations nightly in West Bank towns. A total of 19 wanted Palestinians were arrested overnight, the army spokesman said Monday.