Israel kills Islamic Jihad leader

16 01 2008
Map of West Bank

Israeli troops have killed a leader of the military wing of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad during a raid in the West Bank. Walid Obeidi was killed during an exchange of fire in the village of Qabatiya, near the northern town of Jenin, officials and witnesses said.

Two of Obeidi’s bodyguards were wounded and arrested, the group said.

Islamic Jihad is a small radical group that has launched most of the rocket fire from Gaza in the past two years.

Its armed branch has also claimed responsibility for suicide attacks in Israel.

The Israeli army said that troops had attempted to arrest Mr Obeidi, described as the head of the armed wing of the radical Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank.

He refused to surrender and was killed in an exchange of fire, the military said.

The death followed a major Israeli raid in Gaza City on Tuesday.

At least 19 Palestinians were killed during one of the deadliest days of violence in recent months.

Israel said the incursion was an attempt to stop militants firing mortars into Israel.

Reports of more rocket fire followed the raid. Israeli radio reported that two rockets landed in open fields in southern Israel early on Wednesday.

The violence comes after Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators began talks on Monday on core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – borders, Jewish settlements, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. BBC News

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