Israeli raid sparks violent protests in West Bank
Ramallah: A failed arrest raid on Thursday by Israeli undercover troops at a West Bank apartment building sparked violent protests which, officials said, indicate that Israeli-Palestinian security coordination may be in trouble.
The raid targeted a suspected Islamist militant and marked the second time this week an Army operation sparked clashes. Palestinians accused Israel of taking provocative actions in retaliation against their successful bid in November to win UN recognition for a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in 1967.
Israel's military denied it was walking away from coordination with the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose self-rule government administers just over one-third of the West Bank, where more than 90 percent of the Palestinians live.
Palestinian officials said Thursday's operation began when undercover troops, followed by uniformed soldiers in more than a dozen jeeps, broke into an apartment building on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Jenin. The apparent target, an activist in the militant Islamic Jihad group, was not in the area.
The Israeli military said several hundred Palestinians began throwing stones, and that some in the crowd hurled firebombs and rolled burning tires towards the soldiers. Troops fired warning shots, and also used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel pellets to quell the protest, the military said.
Earlier this week, another undercover raid targeting suspected Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank led to clashes that left 10 Palestinians wounded.