Middle East
Al-Aqsa Martyrs commander shot dead
Israeli troops kill Palestinian fighter in the West Bank town of Jenin.
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2007 23:51 GMT
Al-Heija was an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
commander in the West Bank [Reuters]
Israeli soldiers have shot dead a local comander of a Palestinian armed group linked to the Fatah faction of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in the West Bank.

Mohammed Abu el-Heija of the the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was killed in the gunfight in the Jenin refugee camp, Palestinian security sources said on Monday.
"A Fatah member opened fire on soldiers conducting a routine operation in Jenin, and they returned fire and killed him, wounding another armed Palestinian," an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

She said the Palestinian was armed with a M16 assault rifle with a telescope.
"During the incident, an explosive charge was thrown and the Israeli force came under fire," she said.
Israeli raids

Palestinians said al-Heija was considered to be close to Zakariya Zubeidi, a high-profile al-Aqsa leader in the camp who has long been on the Israeli army's wanted list.

"We, at al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, will continue to defend the Palestinian people until the last drop of our blood," Zubeidi told Al Jazeera.

Israel has indicated that it will continue to pursue Palestinian fighters in the West Bank despite pledging to support Abbas and the new emergency government which effectively only controls that territory.

Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister in the cabinet appointed after Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip, has said Israeli raids undermine the Fatah's intention to disarm groups in the West Bank.

Israel has conducted several raids around the West Bank town of Nablus over the past two days targeting fighters from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
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