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An IDF artillery shell killed 16-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud Ovayed and wounded two others in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya on Monday, Palestinian medics said.

The youths were standing in an open field in the northern part of Beit Lahiya when they were hit by the shell. Ovayed was critically wounded and died of his wounds two hours later.

An IDF spokesman issued a statement expressing grief over any "damage inflicted upon civilians or their property," but stressed that "this is the inevitable result of the continuing Qassam rocket attacks, the responsibility for which falls upon the terrorist organizations and the Palestinian Authority which does nothing to stop them."

The IDF has been firing at areas where militants launch cross-border rocket attacks.

Ovayed is the second civilian killed in the northern Gaza Strip in less than a week. The last victim was a 12-year-old girl who was also killed by a shell.

Dozens of IDF soldiers and jeeps rolled into the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday afternoon, shortly after an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed nine people in the old central bus station in Tel Aviv.

The troops moved into the center of the city, where they began carrying out arrests.

The IDF has arrested 15 would-be suicide bombers in the West Bank over the past month.

Earlier Monday IDF soldiers holed up in a home in Nablus opened fire on a crowd of stone-throwing protesters outside the building, wounding two people, including a 13-year-old boy, Palestinian officials and witnesses said.

The soldiers took over the top floor of the home during a military operation early Monday, and protesters quickly gathered outside after discovering the forces. The crowd began throwing rocks toward the soldiers, who placed a door behind a window and responded with gunfire. Several crowd members also fired pistols toward troops during the exchange.

Palestinian hospital officials said the youth was shot in the neck and in moderate condition. A second person was lightly wounded, they said.

"When he was wounded in the neck, he ran toward me before collapsing and the blood gushed from his neck," said Ana Maria Espinoza, a pro-Palestinian volunteer from Chile. She said more than 100 protesting youths were gathered behind a wall about 100 meters (yards) from the house, which is located in a residential neighborhood near a school.

An armored AP jeep also was hit by Israeli gunfire, suffering minor damage. Nablus is a stronghold of Palestinian militants.

The army said its forces had come under fire in the area, but had no further details.

Troops disperse Bir Zeit protest; Qassams fired at Israel

Palestinian demonstrators on Monday hurled rocks and incendiary devices at IDF troops near Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah.

Soldiers that arrived on the scene dispersed the crowd.

Also on Monday, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched four Qassam rockets at Israel. No injuries or damage was reported.