Israel troops kill Jihad militant in West Bank: army

Israel troops kill Jihad militant in West Bank: army
A Palestinian protester throws a gas canister during clashes with Israel troops in Betunia near the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 27, 2013. Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and east Jerusalem to mark the anniversary of an uprising against occupation, clashing in places with Israeli forces.

JERUSALEM - Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian militant from the radical Islamic Jihad movement during a gunbattle near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, an army spokesman said.

"A wanted Palestinian terrorist was killed this morning in Bilin during a gunfight with the army while he was in a cave," tweeted army spokesman Avichay Adraee in Arabic.

The gunfight broke out after troops stormed an area between the villages of Bilin and Kufr Ne'meh, 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Ramallah, shortly before dawn.

The army named the dead man as Mohammed Assi and said he was an Islamic Jihad militant responsible for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that left 29 people injured.

"Mohammad Assi involved in #TelAviv bombing last Nov. opened fire at security forces and was killed this a.m. in the exchange of fire," said the army's official spokesman Peter Lerner in a posting on Twitter that described Assi as the "planner" of the November bombing.

He said troops had arrested another two people who were also involved in the bombing.

Islamic Jihad confirmed Assi was one of their militants in a statement on its website which said he was "assassinated by the occupation in Kufr Ne'meh."

Local witnesses told AFP the incident began at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) when Israeli troops entered Bilin then moved into an area between the village and nearby Kufr Ne'meh, sparking gunfire.

Troops then surrounded a cave in the area and bulldozed it, a Palestinian medic at the scene said.

Local witnesses confirmed troops were hunting for Assi, saying he was a wanted Islamic Jihad activist.

The Tel Aviv bombing took place on November 21 on a bus near the defence ministry.

The attack took place as Israel was engaged in a major air campaign in Gaza to stamp out cross-border rocket fire that ended with a mutual ceasefire several hours later.

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