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A Hamas militant was shot and killed Friday night by soldiers after he was injured when the explosives belt he was carrying blew up.

The incident occurred near the settlement of Telem, southwest of Hebron in the West Bank. Israel Defense Forces troops in a jeep heard an explosion that was apparently the result of a "work accident." Arriving at the scene, soldiers shot and killed the man, Zeid Abu A'isha, 24, of Hebron, after they saw him lying on the ground with injuries. Remnants of the explosives belt were found on his body, and an additional device was on the ground nearby.

The incident followed a number of abortive terror attacks in the West Bank.

Soldiers yesterday arrested a Palestinian woman carrying a knife at the 300 checkpoint near Bethlehem. During questioning, she admitted that she had planned to stab a policeman.

Also yesterday, IDF soldiers arrested a 17-year-old Palestinian who was found to be concealing two pipe bombs and detonators under his coat at the Coordination and Liaison Headquarters near Jenin in the West Bank. The devices were safely detonated by sappers.

And in another incident yesterday, three Palestinian youths were detained. Two were carrying knives while the third had an ammunition catridge and bullets for a machine gun.

On Friday, IDF troops in the West Bank shot and wounded another 17-year-old Palestinian who was playing with a toy gun that they mistook for a genuine weapon. Israeli medics treated him in the field and took him to a Jerusalem hospital.

About two weeks ago, soldiers shot and killed a boy in the West Bank city of Jenin in a similar incident.

In the Gaza Strip, a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed and dozens of Palestinians were injured in exchanges of fire between Palestinian Authority police officers and members of the Astal clan, one of the largest in the city of Khan Yunis. Members of the family took control of an area in the Muasi region, west of Khan Yunis, during the Israeli evacuation. The clan claims the land belongs to them. Palestinian police cars were set on fire during the clashes, together with a local police station and the office of the Palestinian state prosecutor.

PA police crack down on stolen cars

Palestinian police began confiscating stolen Israeli cars in the West Bank city of Nablus yesterday and have beefed up their forces to crack down on growing lawlessness.

The police informed Palestinian militant groups - which oversee theft rings and possess illegal weapons - that they also intend to start collecting unlicensed guns. The power of the police has been greatly weakened as Palestinian gunmen have taken charge of the streets during the past five years of hostilities with Israel.

The factions were told, in the meantime, to obey a recent order to keep their weapons out of the open, the police said.

As part of the crackdown in Nablus, more than 400 special police forces were brought into the city earlier this week, said Dehan Abdullah, a senior police commander in Nablus.