Israeli offensive in West Bank

24 June 2004
In the largest operation in the area for months, Israeli soldiers on 24 June sealed off the casbah of Nablus in the West Bank with barbed wire and cement blocks. Troops conducted house-to-house searches for militants. Two Palestinians were wounded in clashes, hospital sources confirmed.

Palestinians said the men were shot after they threw stones at soldiers. The army said troops shot at a group of armed men after one of them threw a firebomb and others opened fire at the soldiers.

Israel has long labeled Nablus a 'hornet's nest' of militant activity, claiming many Palestinian suicide bombers have originated in the city. Palestinians said no major fugitives had been captured so far during this operation.

Separately, Israeli soldiers in Gaza shot and killed two Palestinians wearing bulletproof vests and armed with rifles and grenades who approached an outpost near the Jewish settlement of Dugit, the army said.

And in another incident in the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops shot a Palestinian seen digging in the sand near the Jewish Bedolah settlement.

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