In the West Bank city of Nablus invading troops imposed a strict closure and detained 26 Hamas activists, reported our correspondent Walid al-Umari.

A closure was also imposed on the city of Tulkarim and its refugee camp. Israeli forces destroyed the home of Ramzy al-Arda, who carried out a resistance attack in Avne Hefetz Jewish settlement, killing a settler and injuring another, reported Aljazeera. 

The Israeli state-controlled radio said on Sunday the Shin Beth, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, had sought to recruit al-Arda.

 

The radio quoted Shin Beth officers as saying al-Arda might have carried out the operation as a response to Shin Beth's attempts to recruit him as a "collaborator".

 

Al-Arda was released from the Kedomim detention facility in the northern West Bank last week.

 

Israeli gunners aim their rifles
during an invasion of Nablus

According to a report published in the Palestinian daily al-Ayyam, al-Arda said in his will that he had been asked by the Shin Beth to act as an informer.

 

However, al-Arda did not say if his attack on the Jewish settlement, inhabited mostly by hardline settlers advocating the annihilation of Palestinians, was in response to the Shin Beth offer.

 

More assassinations?

Meanwhile, Israeli Health Minister Danny Naveh reiterated threats against Arafat, saying he was a "more serious obstacle" than murdered Hamas founder and leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin.

Israel assassinated the wheelchair-bound Yasin earlier this month in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Naveh, a member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's right-wing Likud party, also reiterated calls for Arafat's expulsion from his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ram Allah.

Sharon has confined Arafat there for more than two years. 

Deadliest threat

In an interview with the Haaretz daily on Friday, Sharon hinted both Arafat and the head of the Lebanese resistance group Hizb Allah, General Secretary Sayyid Hasan Nasr Allah, might be next on Israel’s hit-list.

"I wouldn't suggest either of them feels immune... Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man, period," he said in one of his most threatening remarks to date.

Arafat told journalists on Saturday he didn't care about Sharon's comments, immediately condemned by the United States.

But Naveh told army radio the threat would "make Arafat understand that he has no immunity".

The Israeli security cabinet approved the principle of Arafat's "removal" in September last year.