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Israeli troops kill three Palestinians in West Bank raid

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli troops shot and killed at least three Palestinians and injured a dozen others in a raid early Saturday on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Israeli army and Palestinian medics said.

A large army force surrounded a house in the camp to arrest Hamas militant Hamza Abu Haija, 22, who has been wanted by the army for several years for his alleged involvement in the Hamas military wing, Izzeddin Qassam Brigades.

In an exchange of gunfire after Abu Haija refused to surrender, he was shot and killed, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner tweeted: "In a combined special forces mission in Jenin to arrest a Hamas terrorist involved in several attacks, he opened fire at the forces. IDF responded killing the Hamas terrorist."

Lerner said Abu Haija "chose to barricade himself in his house with others, then he opened fire, and continued to do so while attempting escape."

Two soldiers were injured and three other Palestinians "involved in attacking the security forces were also killed during the operation," Lerner said.

Palestinian medics confirmed only three deaths, including Abu Haija, son of a senior Hamas leader currently serving nine life terms in Israeli jails.

The other two, identified as Mahmoud Abu Zeina, 17, and Yazan Jabarin, 23, were killed when soldiers fired on camp residents who had attacked the Israeli forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.

Palestinian Red Crescent reports said at least 12 people were injured in the clashes. One was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at Jenin hospital.

Reports also said the army arrested three of the wounded.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the raid and killings. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on the United States, sponsor of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, to "act quickly to prevent the collapse of everything."

Thousands of Jenin residents marched through the city streets to protest the killings and called on Abbas to suspend negotiations with Israel. They also declared a day of mourning.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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