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Israel ends its military operation in Nablus

From the Associated Press

A 5-day-old Israeli military raid ended here Thursday, officials said, after soldiers scoured the crowded Old City for militants and confined tens of thousands of residents to their homes with a curfew.

Before the pullout, Israeli troops exchanged fire with armed men in a mosque and stormed an apartment building where gunmen were thought to be hiding.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a general closure would be imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip at midnight Thursday ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which ends Monday evening. Under such a closure, Palestinians are banned from entering Israel, except for humanitarian cases.

The Nablus raid was the Israeli military’s largest West Bank operation since July. The army, which uncovered three explosives labs this week, says most Palestinian suicide bombers in the last year came from the city.

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Troops raiding the outlying Faraa refugee camp at dawn Thursday traded shots with three Palestinians in a mosque there, the army and Palestinian officials said. The army said the Palestinians had fired first.


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