Israelis Kill 2 in West Bank Raid; Residents Under Curfew

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Israeli troops searching for Islamic militants clamped a curfew on the largest West Bank city Monday, raiding a home and killing two Palestinian men inside.

The two dead were believed responsible for attacks on Israelis.

The 110,000 people in Nablus, 40 miles north of Jerusalem, were under curfew, with all movement banned.

Violence dropped in the West Bank with the start of Palestinian autonomy, but it escalated last week with the shooting deaths of a 17-year-old Israeli girl and a soldier. It was not immediately clear if the army search and attack Monday were linked to those deaths.


Residents of Nablus’ old quarter said about 30 soldiers surrounded a one-room house around 2:30 a.m. while others took over nearby rooftops.

They opened fire on the house about 2 1/2 hours later, throwing in grenades, then followed up with bullets and rockets, said Ali Awkashi, a 62-year-old grocer who witnessed the raid.

Awkashi said the firing stopped after about two hours.

Abdel Karm Ayesh, owner of a pastry shop, said an ambulance was called and two bodies were taken away. The army then ordered everyone off the street, ran wires into the house and blew it up, he said.

The two men killed were identified by neighbors as Bashar Amoudi, 25, from Nablus, and Ali Othman Assi of Bani Hasan village near Ramallah.

Both are believed members of Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist movement that opposes the peace accord signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and has vowed to continue attacks on Israelis.