An Israeli soldier and one Palestinian terrorist have been killed early Tuesday during intense fire exchange in a refugee camp in the West Bank.
According to a spokeswoman of the Israeli military, the trooper was badly injured during clashes with terrorists in the Ein Beit Elma refugee camp. He received medical treatment immediately after the shootout, but unfortunately, his life couldn’t be saved.
Terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Islamic Jihad said they are responsible for the soldier’s murder, claiming to have detonated an explosive device in the settlement.
In the fire exchange an 18-year-old PFLP thug was shot and killed by Israeli forces. Local sources said he tried to get past Israeli security troops and was shot by the troopers.
Israeli ground troops, including armored vehicles swept the camp located in the west of the northern city of Nablus. Military officials said the soldiers were engaged in a “search and arrest” operation for Palestinian terror squads present on a list elaborated by the Jerusalem government.
A statement released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said troops were deployed to the West Bank Tuesday morning “to locate and arrest terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into Israel and execute terrorist attacks.” Reportedly, several weapons, ammunition and grenades were seized during the raid.
Tuesday’s incidents come just a few hours before United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was due to arrive in the Middle East on a three-day visit. Rice will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
This is her second trip to the region since Hamas ousted Fatah security forces in mid-June and took control over Gaza. Rice’s visit is aimed at preparing the framework for a regional peace summit due to take place in November.
Since the conference was announced in July by US President George W Bush, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met regularly in order to work out divergences standing in the way of a peace agreement.