World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli forces traded gunfire with Palestinians on Thursday, the military said, in the fiercest street battles in the occupied West Bank since a search began for three Israeli teenagers missing for a week.
Hospital officials said three Palestinians suffered bullet wounds in the overnight clashes in Jenin, the scene of deadly fighting during a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. There were no reported Israeli casualties.
In a statement, the military said about 300 Palestinians confronted soldiers who entered Jenin looking for the three seminary students.
Israel says Hamas abducted them last Thursday as they were hitchhiking near a Jewish settlement.
"The soldiers responded with live fire, identifying hits," the statement said. It said 30 "terror suspects" were detained in the West Bank, bringing to 280 the number of Palestinians taken into custody over the past week.
Reuters photographers in Jenin heard heavy gunfire during the night but were kept away from the scene of the clashes by the Israeli army.
ABBAS ACCUSES ISRAEL
A statement issued by the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of using the teenagers' disappearance as "a pretext to impose tough punishment against our people and besiege them" in violation of international humanitarian law.
Israeli raids have spread from house-to-house searches in Hebron, a flashpoint town in the area where the three went missing, to raids across the West Bank of institutions believed to provide funding and other support for Hamas.
"The policy of collective punishment conducted by the occupation government against our people and our land requires condemnation by the whole world," the Palestinian presidential statement said.
As part of the crackdown, Israel said on Thursday it was banning a British-based charity from operating in the occupied West Bank, accusing Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) of being a source of funding for the Palestinian Hamas Islamist movement.
No comment was immediately available from the IRW in Britain. Officials in an affiliate office, International Relief in Palestine, in the Gaza Strip said they had no information about the Israeli decision.Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2014, 17:30