Israel kills Hamas fighters in Gaza

Killings in Gaza come as Israeli forces continue an incursion into the West Bank.

    Relatives mourn a Hamas member [EPA]

    The dead include a mother and daughter and at least three members of an armed faction.
    Nablus searches
    Israeli ground forces also continued their raid on Nablus in the West Bank on Friday. 

    Al Jazeera's correspondent in the city said about 10 people had been injured, including a child who was hot in the head.

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    Israeli troops imposed a curfew after driving into the city in about 70 vehicles on Thursday. They surrounded a number of buildings, including the Rafidya hospital, in a hunt for wanted fighters, a Palestinian official said.

    The curfew remained in place on Friday, with shops and schools still shut. 

    An army spokesman said the operation was targetting "terrorist infrastructure" in the area, where the troops had uncovered a large amount of weaponry.

    More than 20 people are thought to have been arrested, including several members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
    Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, said the Israeli operation was damaging his government's security plan.
    "These operations destroy our efforts in the filed of security, which started bearing fruits lately in a way that people felt the change," he said in a statement.
    The incursion is the largest since Palestinian police deployed in the city.

    Israeli settlements

    The latest military raids came as George Bush, US president, called on Israel to dismantle unauthorised settlement outposts on occupied Palestinian land ahead of his visit to the region next week.
    "We expect them to honour their commitments," Bush said in an interview with Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
    "The Israeli government has said that they're going to get rid of unauthorised settlements, and that's what we expect"

    George Bush,
    US president

    "The Israeli government has said that they're going to get rid of unauthorised settlements, and that's what we expect. That's what we've been told," he said, according to an English-language transcript of the interview.

    Bush to spend three days in Israel and the Palestinian territories from next Wednesday in the first visit by a sitting US president in nine years.
    Meanwhile, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, paid homage to Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister who has been in a coma for the past two years.
    "I hope with all my heart that a day will come when he will open his eyes again and return to be among us," Olmert said.
    Sharon had a stroke on January 4, 2006, and has been in a coma since. Sharon is remembered for his military career as well as his political role. In 1982 he was defence minister during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in which Palestinian refugees were massacred in the camps of Sabra and Shatila.
    Sharon withdrew troops and dismantled settlements in the Gaza Strip in June 2006.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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