Israeli soldiers surround Hebron house

Swarms of Israeli paratroopers surrounded a house in this West Bank city early Wednesday, and to Palestinian residents it looked like another army operation to arrest Palestinian militants.

But this time, troops were on a rescue mission: to extract a wild gazelle being held in the yard of the home.

More than a dozen soldiers and Israeli police surrounded the house, escorting an Israeli park ranger. The gazelle was taken from the yard, and put in an armored Israeli jeep, said the ranger, Aviam Eter. A Palestinian resident of the home was arrested.

"Those who discovered it were the soldiers from the 101 unit who were on a routine patrol," Eter told Israel Radio Wednesday. "We surrounded the house, went into the house and took the gazelle."

Israeli law bans keeping wild, protected animals at home. The gazelle was taken to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

The Israeli military carries out nightly arrest raids in the West Bank, often surrounding hideouts of fugitives. Sometimes the operations end in shootouts and casualties, reports the AP.

I.L.