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Palestinian teen stopped with bomb vest

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Palestinian teen stopped with vest bomb
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli soldiers on Wednesday stopped a 14-year-old boy wearing a vest of explosives at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Military personnel cleared the area after the boy -- when ordered to lift his shirt -- revealed a vest with eight kilograms of explosives.

In dramatic images caught on camera, the teenager -- standing in the middle of the cordoned off road -- told soldiers he did not want to die, that he did not want to blow up.

"He was frightened by the quick reaction of the soldiers, who pointed their guns and stopped him," said Capt. Sharon Feingold, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces. "He raised his hands, then we grabbed him and persuaded him to assist us to dismantle the suicide vest that he was wearing."

Explosives experts used a remote-controlled robot to pass the boy scissors so he could cut the explosives from his body. After struggling with the straps he safely removed the vest and raised his arms to show soldiers he had no more explosives.

The IDF blew up the vest in a controlled explosion and whisked the boy away for questioning.

It is the second time in about a week that children have been used to transport explosives.

In the first incident, 11-year-old Abdullah Quran was detained at a checkpoint near Nablus. An Israeli soldier discovered he was carrying between seven and 10 kilograms of explosives in a bag.

Israel Defense Forces said the boy did not know that the bag contained explosives. He said he was given five shekels -- the equivalent of about one U.S. dollar -- to carry it through the checkpoint and to give it to an old woman at the next checkpoint.

Eventually, Abdullah was questioned and released.

Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in a targeted Israeli airstrike on Monday, had issued a religious edict forbidding the use of children in terrorist attacks.

Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist group, has a military wing called Izzedine al Qassam which has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and the Israeli military. The United States and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

The IDF said 29 suicide bombing attacks have been carried out by youths since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intensified in September 2000.

Israel on alert

Israel has been on high alert since Yassin's killing amid threats of revenge by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

It has also continued with incursions into Palestinian territories -- a tactic Israel says is aimed at the terrorists and their infrastructure rather than civilians.

Israeli tanks late Wednesday shelled a workshop used to make rockets at a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Gaza, while Israeli helicopter gunships attacked two homes, Palestinian security sources said.

There was no immediate word on the extent of damage or whether there were any casualties.

The sources said six tanks shelled the workshop in Khan Yunis. Shortly afterward, Apache helicopters fired rockets at two homes in Khan Yunis, the sources said.

They also said there were ongoing clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces. The IDF had no immediate comment.

CNN's Paula Hancocks contributed to this report.

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