|First Published:||08:52 , 02.25.07|
|Latest Update:||13:59 , 02.25.07|
IDF troops raid Nablus
Dozens of Israeli jeeps, armored vehicles raid West Bank city, place Palestinians under curfew; two soldiers, seven Palestinian youths lightly injured. Army says operation not limited in time, aimed at uncovering explosives laboratories and arresting wanted terror suspects
Large Israeli forces entered the West Bank city of Nablus Sunday morning in an operation defined as "activity against terror infrastructures."
During the operation, an explosive device was hurled at the soldiers. Two troops were lightly injured by shrapnel. Seven Palestinians youths were also lightly injured after hurling stones at IDF forces.
Israel Defense Forces officials noted that the large-scale operation would not be limited in time and would only end after its objectives are achieved.
Troops placed about 50,000 people under curfew in the center of Nablus and closed the main entrance to the city, witnesses said.
IDF officials said that Nablus continued to serve as a center for terrorist activity against Israeli targets. Most warnings against terror attacks received by security forces came from the Nablus area, an official added.
Saturday's riots in Nablus (Photo: AP)
Palestinian sources reported that the forces besieged eight members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members, Fatah's military wing, and that at least 10 Palestinian were arrested in the city. IDF officials said that the forces besieged a number of buildings in which wanted suspects were hiding.
Eyewitnesses in Nablus reported that dozens of Israeli jeeps and armored vehicles raided Nablus from a number of entrances. A Palestinian source told Ynet that for the first time in years, soldiers set up concrete walls and blocked the entrances to the city from all directions.
There were also reports that Israeli aircrafts were patrolling the area. Palestinians reported that IDF soldiers took over several observation posts in the city.
'One of largest operations since Defensive Shield'
Palestinians complained that the IDF besieged the city's hospitals and that a large force was operating in Nablus' old city area. According to the sources, the army was calling on wanted Palestinians to turn themselves in.
According to an unconfirmed report, the army managed to disrupt frequencies of a local radio station and to read the names of the wanted suspects whom the forces planned to arrest.
Palestinians claimed that the raid was one of the largest operations in Nablus since Operation Defensive Shield.
Sunday marked the third day of the IDF's operation in Nablus. On Saturday, troops uncovered an explosives laboratory, including pipe devices, two gas tanks and materials for preparation of explosive devices. The lab was exploded and an Islamic Jihad member was arrested.
Since the beginning of 2006, the IDF has uncovered seven explosives labs in the West Bank. On Saturday, soldiers operated in large forces in Nablus for several hours. Five Palestinians were injured in the operation.
Ali Waked and AP contributed to the report