According to Aljazeera's correspondent, 17-year-old Raji Rayan, of the Balata refugee camp, was struck in the head by Israeli troops who fired live or rubber bullets. The extent of the injuries of those wounded is not known.

The Israeli soldiers claimed they were responding to stones hurled at tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

The latest killing occurred as Israeli occupation troops backed by tanks and armoured vehicles rampaged through Nablus, the largest town in the West Bank, for the second consecutive day. Nablus is home to an estimated 60,000 Palestinians.

On Friday night, Israeli forces raided Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus city, imposing a curfew and sealing off the camp. The curfew continued on Saturday after search operations were carried out.

Civilians terrorised

Our correspondent, Khalid Amayrah, further reports that Israeli troops continue to terrorise civilians by forcibly evacuating families from their homes in order to use their rooftops as "outposts" and "watchtowers".

"They are terrorising civilians as never  before," Hanid Muhammad, a Nablus-based journalist told Amayrah.

"In the past, they used to force families into one small room and lock it. Now, they kick everybody out and take over the entire house. This is sheer terror." 

The latest Israeli offensive follows a Palestinian bombing that killed four Israelis, including three soldiers, at a bus stop near Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The soldiers were identified by the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, as Corporals Angelina Shcherov and Rotem Weinberger, both 19, and Staff Sergeant Noam Leibovitch, 21, from Elkana.

Humanitarian disaster

Nablus governor has warned of a
catastrophe

Meanwhile, the governor of Nablus has reportedly warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the town due to tough Israeli security measures imposed on the area for weeks.

Mahmud al-Alul said Nablus and its refugee camps were witnessing the worst ever situation since the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) three years ago.

"The Israeli army is besieging Balata refugee camp and prevents food and medical supplies from reaching the refugee camp," said al-Alul. He added that the restrictions were not eased on Christmas eve.

Protest rally

In the West Bank town of Qalqilya, thousands of Palestinians and several international peace activists have gathered to protest against the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, particularly the building of the apartheid wall.

"Protesters have gathered in Abul Ali area in the centre of Qalqilya city and marched to the apartheid wall around the city," Aljazeera's correspondent, Walid al-Umari, reported.

"The rally aims to begin a campaign against the apartheid wall, considered as a catastrophe to the Palestinians as it occupies hundreds of miles of Palestinian land," the correspondent said. "They believe it would destroy any opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian state," he added.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya is also expected to arrive in Qalqilya, to join in and address the rally.