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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israelis Kill Militant, Shake Truce

HEBRON, West Bank -- Israeli troops killed a Palestinian militant commander Thursday, triggering vows of revenge in increasing signs that a six-week Palestinian-Israeli truce could collapse.

Fresh violence since an army raid last week that killed two Hamas militants and prompted two Palestinian suicide bombings Tuesday has overshadowed diplomacy to prevent the U.S.-led "road map" plan from unraveling.

Witnesses in Hebron, a West Bank stronghold of Muslim militants, said Israeli troops surrounded a building in search of Mohammad Seder, local head of Islamic Jihad's armed wing, touching off a gunfight followed by explosions in the premises.

A senior Islamic Jihad official said a body found at the house was that of Seder. A reporter at the scene said the body was removed with a machine gun still in his hands.

Israeli military sources said Seder was wanted on suspicion of organizing a car-bomb attack and that they were trying to arrest him.

After the military operation, a statement on the web site of Neda al-Quds, a group closely affiliated with Islamic Jihad, claimed "the right to respond ... despite the truce declared by the factions."

Two suicide bombers from Nablus killed two Israelis on Tuesday in what their militant factions called acts of revenge for an army raid that killed two wanted Hamas men in the West Bank city last week.

In response, the Israeli army demolished the family home of one suicide bomber Wednesday and the other early Thursday, both in Nablus' Askar refugee quarter.

"As part of counterterror efforts, Israeli forces in the Askar refugee camp overnight demolished the home of Islam Yusuf Kafishi, who carried out Tuesday's suicide bombing at the entrance to Ariel," an army statement said.

Ariel is a large Jewish settlement in occupied West Bank territory where, along with the Gaza Strip, Palestinians would be granted statehood by 2005 under the road map drafted by a U.S.-led quartet of peacemakers.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has bemoaned continued army swoops for wanted men, saying these are goading militants to upset the truce. Israel says it has no choice since Abbas has failed to disarm militants as the road map requires.