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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israeli Army Holds Hebron Under Siege

JERUSALEM -- Israel's army called Thursday on Palestinians holed up under fire for a third day in a fortress-like West Bank compound to surrender, warning it will overrun the battered Hebron government complex if those inside refuse to come out.

Since early Tuesday, military officials have said 150 people inside have surrendered, including at least 20 top fugitives, during short breaks in heavy machine-gun fire from the ground and helicopter gunships. About 40 people, including at least 15 wanted men, remained inside Thursday, the officials said.

"We know that a few wanted persons are inside, and we intend to apprehend them," Brigadier General Ron Kitrey told Israel Army Radio. "We prefer to do it without a battle, but if it proves necessary there will be one."

Four Palestinians have been killed thus far in the battle at the compound.

Hebron on Tuesday became the seventh of eight main West Bank towns and cities to come under the tight grip of the Israeli military, which re-entered the Palestinian areas last week when two suicide bombings in Jerusalem killed 26 Israelis. At least 700,000 Palestinians are confined to their homes while Israeli forces control the towns.

Also on Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian when he fired a pistol at an Israeli tank in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, according to witnesses and the army.

And in Nablus, about 20 Palestinian police surrendered at a prison compound after Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers surrounded it.