Five Palestinians killed in Israeli West Bank raid against militants

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, Israel said Hamas militants had been planning imminent attacks

Five Palestinians have been killed during raids by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

The Israeli army said the operation was against Hamas militants about to carry out attacks, adding that as far as it knew all the dead were Hamas members.

Two soldiers were seriously injured by Palestinian gunfire in one of the raids, it said.

Hamas said four of its members were killed. Palestinian militant groups say they are considering their response.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, two people were killed in Burqin near Jenin and another three in Biddu near Jerusalem.

Correspondents say there has long been concern in Israel that Hamas, which runs Gaza, could also challenge its rival the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Last week in Jenin, Israel recaptured the last two of six fugitive Palestinian militants, who had escaped from a maximum security prison two weeks earlier.

And in August four Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid to arrest a suspect in the West Bank.

Weeks before that, two Palestinian intelligence officers and a Palestinian suspected by Israel of carrying out attacks were killed during an undercover raid in Jenin.

At least 256 people were killed in an 11-day conflict in May between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, according to the UN, and 13 people were killed in Israel.

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