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Fighting and military activities in Mideast

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A summary of fighting and military activity in the West Bank and Gaza late Friday and Saturday:

  • In Ramallah, the Israeli army shelled buildings and perimeter walls Saturday night at the compound where Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and dozens of other Palestinians are confined by Israeli troops, a Palestinian official said. Four Palestinians were wounded, one of them critically, said Arafat adviser Nabil abu Rudeineh, who is in the compound.
  • The Israel Defense Forces denied earlier reports that it fired on Arafat's compound.

  • In Nablus, the West Bank's largest city, Israeli troops backed by helicopter gunships waged fierce battles Saturday with Palestinian gunmen and conducted house-to-house searches, according to Palestinian residents and local officials. Israeli troops searched the home of the city's mayor, who was out of town, and arrested his two sons, the Palestinians said. The Israeli army reported fighting in the city but gave no immediate details.
  • Five Palestinians were killed and 50 injured -- 15 seriously -- in overnight fighting with Israeli forces, according to Palestinian medical sources

    The IDF said it killed four terrorists Friday night it caught laying explosives near an IDF checkpoint at the Askar refugee camp. Palestinian medical sources confirmed the four deaths.

  • In Jenin, Israeli troops bulldozed dozens of homes in the refugee camp there after Palestinians put cement barricades at entrances in anticipation of the Israeli incursion, Palestinian sources said. Palestinians also said Israeli tanks and helicopters fired on the camp.
  • Palestinian sources said dozens of Palestinians have been killed in the incursion, while the Palestinian minister of information said at least 30 have died. Three Israeli troops were killed and one seriously wounded in gun battles Friday, the Israeli army said.

    An Israeli officer said the army had control of the city of Jenin after "difficult fighting" as part of Israel's anti-terrorism operation. The army's last stage was controlling the Jenin refugee camp.

    In a separate incident near Jenin, Israeli troops shot a Palestinian with an explosive belt late Friday. Israeli sources said the device he was carrying exploded and the man was killed. No IDF soldiers were injured.

  • In Bethlehem, the standoff continued at the Church of the Nativity where some 200 people, including Palestinian gunmen, have taken refuge. Israeli troops have surrounded the church, which is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, demanding the gunmen surrender.
  • Several clerics were allowed to leave the church Saturday for health reasons. Roman Catholic officials said they have submitted a plan to the Israelis to end the standoff.

  • In southern Lebanon, Israeli warplanes and artillery hit suspected Hezbollah targets in response to shelling that wounded three children near Ghajar, a village in Israeli-occupied territory at the foot of the Golan Heights, Lebanese security forces said.
  • In a second attack, Lebanese officials said Hezbollah guerrillas fired machine guns and rockets toward the disputed Shebaa Farms area, near Ghajar village. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • Near Hebron in the West Bank, Israeli forces moved into the town of Yatta overnight. Two Palestinians were shot and killed, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said. Another Palestinian was killed Saturday after Israeli troops moved into the village of Al Fawar.
  • Also in the West Bank, the IDF said a helicopter strike killed the man responsible for masterminding the several attacks on Israelis, including the Passover attack in Netanya that killed 26 people. The suicide bombing was the most deadly of a string of attacks that triggered the current Israeli military operation.
  • The helicopter strike took place in the town of Tubas, between Nablus and Jenin. Six members of Izzedine al Qassam -- the military wing of Hamas -- were killed. The U.S. State Department labels Hamas a terrorist organization.

  • In southern Gaza, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian gunmen trying to enter the Jewish settlement of Rafah Yam, the Israeli army said. The army said one Israeli soldier was killed and five were wounded.




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