Aljazeera's correspondent in Jenin reported that the bomber blew himself up near a group of Israeli soldiers who were carrying out an operation against Palestinian resistance fighters.

Israeli forces had surrounded a building in which activists from the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad Movement, were taking shelter.

More than 30 military vehicles and a bulldozer were involved in the Israeli operation.

An Israeli source said the bomber detonated an explosives belt after refusing to surrender.

Another Palestinian fighter in the house was shot and killed by the Israeli soldiers, according to witnesses.

More violence

Another Palestinian was reported killed during a separate clash with Israeli forces in Jenin.

In the city of Ram Allah, violence flared up when armed men opened fire on the home of Nasser Yousef, the Palestinian Interior Minister.

Yousef, who was home at the time, was unhurt, but three gunmen were wounded, one critically.

Yousef's bodyguards returned fire and wounded three of the gunmen, who were taken to hospital. One was in critical condition with a neck wound, medics said.

Political targets

Shots were fired at the offices of
Palestinian PM Qureia

A fourth gunman escaped in a car, prompting Palestinian security forces to set up roadblocks in the West Bank city.

It was not immediately clear which of the many armed Palestinian factions the gunmen belonged to or what prompted the attack.

In a seperate incident, gunmen also shot at the offices of Ahmed Qureia, the Palestinian prime minister. There were no reported injuries.

The incidents broke a relative lull in violence since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke last week.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president has been struggling to contain internal disorder in the run-up to Palestinian parliamentary elections on 25 January.