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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israeli Troops Raid West Bank, Arrest 3

ARTAS, West Bank -- Israeli troops backed by tanks raided this Palestinian village in the West Bank early Tuesday, arresting three suspected militants. Six Palestinians were hurt in clashes, officials and witnesses said.

The Israeli troops entered Artas, south of Bethlehem, and arrested a senior figure in the militant Islamic Jihad movement, one of the groups that has carried out suicide bomb attacks in Israeli cities, the army said.

The wounded Palestinians included four with bullet wounds, but their lives were not in danger, a Palestinian hospital official said. One was a pregnant woman who was hit in the leg while she was sleeping, but the baby was unharmed, said Dr. Peter Qumri, director of the hospital in nearby Beit-Jalla. The army said its soldiers opened fire when fired upon.

Eight cars were crushed flat by the tanks and soldiers threw a grenade into one house, burning furniture and smashing all the windows in the room. The soldiers searched houses and questioned residents, before withdrawing after about three hours, residents said.

Shortly afterward and only a few kilometers away, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo on the southern edge of Jerusalem. Gilo is built on land captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, and has come under frequent Palestinian fire during the 16 months of Mideast fighting.

One Gilo resident was slightly injured in the hand by a fragment of glass. A number of apartments and two parked cars were damaged. Palestinian security forces moved to halt the shooting by the Palestinian gunmen, and the Israeli army said it did not return fire.

The army raid into the village of Artas came two days after a Palestinian woman blew herself up in downtown Jerusalem, killing an elderly Israeli.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the woman was from the Bethlehem area, though neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have confirmed the woman's identity or her home town.

Israel has demanded that Yasser Arafat do more to rein in militants, and to put pressure on the Palestinian leader, Israel has confined him to the West Bank city of Ramallah for the past two months.

But Arafat, who met with Palestinian supporters at his Ramallah compound Tuesday, said he was confident the Palestinians would soon have an independent state.

"Victory is coming whether the Israelis like it or not," he said. "It is a gift from God to be here fighting for our holy places and bringing victory for all Arabs and Muslims."

Israeli Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky said that to increase security in Jerusalem, travel between the Arab and Jewish sections of the city might have to be restricted.

Israel captured the eastern section of the city in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it shortly afterward, tearing down the walls and removing barbed wire barricades between the two sides.

Palestinians claim the traditionally Arab section as the future capital of a state they want to create. Some Israeli security commanders are concerned that Palestinian attackers from the West Bank can enter east Jerusalem easily, and from there enter the Jewish areas.

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer plans to travel to Egypt on Wednesday to meet President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the escalating tensions in the region, Israeli officials said.