Israeli troops have arrested 82 militants from the armed Palestinian groups Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, despite a pledge by Hamas that it would cease all rocket attacks on Israel.
An Israeli military spokesman said the arrests were made in a huge operation in the West Bank. Over the last two days Israeli security forces have arrested around 380 Palestinian militants.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said the 82 were "wanted Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists." The raids were carried out in and around Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin, Bethlehem and Nablus, and were described by the IDF as a "continuation of activities against the terrorist infrastructure, following attacks on Israeli citizens from Gaza."
Israel's defence minister Shaul Mofaz has announced that the army will continue its targeted killing of Palestinian militant leaders, which was resumed last weekend. Over the weekend Hamas militants fired scores of rockets into southern Israel from Gaza, prompting retaliatory attacks from Israel, before Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar pledged to stop the rocket attacks.
However, Mofaz said he was "not satisfied" with the pledge, as the Israeli army continued its offensive in the Gaza Strip, two weeks after withdrawing from the area.
It was reported on Tuesday that Israeli helicopters launched airstrikes on three targets in the north of the Gaza Strip which, according to the Israeli military command, had been used by militants to fire missiles at Israel in the last few days, the AP reports.