Soldier Lightly Hurt in Jenin; 2 Palestinians Killed in West Bank

Medics: 13-year-old shot in the head in Nablus, 22-year-old killed during raid near Bethlehem; Hamas activist arrested during his wedding.

An Israel Defense Forces soldier was lightly hurt Friday morning in Jenin by Palestinian gunfire during an operation to search for Palestinians in the West Bank city, Israel Radio reported.

Troops arrested 18 wanted Palestinians in Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron.

On Thursday, IDF troops shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank in separate incidents on Thursday. A 13-year-old boy was shot in the head in the city of Nablus, medics said.

A second Palestinian, 22, was shot dead during a raid in a village near Bethlehem, they said.

A military source said in both instances soldiers had targeted assailants who threw firebombs at the troops, hitting two people. Four other Palestinians were wounded in the clashes.

Also Thursday, IDF soldiers arrested a senior Hamas activist, during his wedding in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Troops from an elite unit arrived at the wedding hall in the city and used loudspeakers to call for the man to come out and turn himself in. The Hamas operative came out immediately, apparently at the advice of his family.

Army Radio identified the Hamas activist as Ramzi Barash, quoting the IDF as saying that he was wanted for the February 2002 murder of factory owner Gadi Rejwan at the Atarot industrial zone in north Jerusalem.

He was also wanted for suspected involvement in suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and shooting attacks in Ramallah area, the radio said.

Barash was followed out of the wedding hall by two other wanted Hamas men, whom troops had not expected to be at the wedding, but who had apparently realized that the army intended to carry out meticulous checks of those present.

The three men arrested were transferred to the Shin Bet security service.

The decision to carry out the arrest operation during the wedding was taken because Barash had been in hiding for the past three years, taking extraordinary measures to avoid being discovered.

The Shin Bet managed to track him down on his wedding day and the decision was therefore made to arrest him.

15 protesters hurt in anti-fence clashesAt least 15 protesters were wounded in clashes Thursday with IDF troops at an anti-fence demonstration held by Palestinians and left-wing activists in the West Bank.

Palestinian sources said soldiers at the demonstration, near the village of al-Zawiya, were firing rubber bullets and dispersing tear gas at the protesters, including left-wing Israeli and foreign activists. The IDF, however, said troops were using tear gas only.

Three Palestinians were lightly injured Wednesday at a demonstration in the same place, and hundreds of villagers clashed with troops.

The protesters were demonstrating at the construction site of a section of the fence intended to separate the West Bank settlement of Ariel from nearby Palestinian villages, including al-Zawiya, southwest of Nablus.