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Hamas militant arrested in West Bank

Israeli troops enter Ramallah's downtown Monday to reimpose a curfew.
Israeli troops enter Ramallah's downtown Monday to reimpose a curfew.  

JENIN, West Bank (CNN) -- Israeli troops Monday arrested a top Hamas militant in the West Bank, according to the Jenin governor's office.

Israel has accused Jamal Abul Hija of being behind a number of deadly suicide attacks, including the August 2001 bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem that killed 15 people. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz said Hija was the most wanted Hamas militant in the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces also arrested Aslam Jarar, who is considered Hija's deputy, the governor's office said.

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Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic militant group, has been labeled by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has admitted responsibility for attacks against the Israeli military and civilians.

Earlier Monday, Israeli troops began house-to-house searches in the Jenin refugee camp and detained several Palestinian men, Palestinian security sources and the Jenin governor's office said.

With helicopters hovering overhead, 50 tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the camp around 5 a.m. (10 p.m. EDT Sunday), according to the Palestinian sources.

Israeli military sources said the forces were carrying out "routine activity" in the camp and said an explosive device had been detonated against the troops.

Palestinian sources said that extensive gunfire was heard.

The IDF said, "An IDF officer was moderately wounded as a result of Palestinian gunmen opening fire at an IDF force operating in Jenin. The force returned fire toward the sources of fire."

Israeli troops also entered downtown Ramallah on Monday. Palestinians began stoning the troops, who responded by firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and live ammunition, according to witnesses. There were reports of injuries.

The Israeli army spokesman's office said that disturbances began in Ramallah and that IDF forces used crowd dispersal measures but did not fire live ammunition.




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