The soldiers were in the al-Yasmina area of the city, attempting to arrest some Palestinian youngsters when they were targeted by an explosive device, witnesses told Aljazeera.net

It is not known how serious their injuries are.

In a statement received by Aljazeera, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack and said one Israeli soldier had been killed.

Meanwhile, in the Balata refugee camp outside Nablus, Israeli occupation soldiers have been firing randomly since sunrise, according to residents.

Local people told Aljazeera.net that the soldiers had occupied a house 100 yards from the entrance of the refugee camp. It was unclear if the residents of the house were being held inside by occupation forces.

''Right now, they are firing into our homes''

Resident of Balata refugee camp

One resident who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals from the army described the scene. The sound of gunfire could be heard in the background.

''At 6.30am I  awoke to hear gunfire in the camp, this was followed  by the arrival of military jeeps. The soldiers fired tear gas and sound grenades. I can hear a tank in the background.''

''Right now, they are firing into our homes'' said another local man.

So far there have  been no reports of any casualties.

Camp

Residents in the camp said occupation forces had stayed away from the area for the past week, which had been unusual.

Aljazeera's correspondent in Palestine reported that Israeli forces had sealed off the camp claiming that they were trying to root out a Palestinian resistance fighter about to carry out an attack in 1948 Palestine (Israel).

The Balata refugee camp is targeted by occupation forces on a regular basis. Israeli troops are usually met with fierce resistance from locals.

Balata is the largest refugee camp in the West Bank and is home to an estimated 20,000 refugees who were thrown out of their homes in 1948, when the state of Israel was created.

Army

The Israeli occupation force has in the past branded the camp a ''hotbed for militant activity'' and had accused Palestinians of creating bombmaking factories in the camp, a charge that was denied by locals.

Aljazeera.net contacted the Israeli army who declined to comment about the invasion of Balata camp and the attacks on the soldiers.