Israeli troops arrest Islamic Jihad leader

Israeli troops on Thursday arrested a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank town of Jenin, the army and Palestinians said.

The Islamic Jihad leader, Saleh al-Sabi, surrendered to the soldiers after they surrounded his hideout for several hours and shot in the air, witnesses and gunmen said. One of his assistants also surrendered, they said.

Heavy exchanges of fire were heard in the area between soldiers and Islamic Jihad gunmen, but no injuries were reported, witnesses and medical officials said.

Palestinian youths threw stones at the more than 15 army jeeps involved in the operation, witnesses said. The army responded by firing rubber-coated steel bullets, wounding five Palestinians, the witnesses and medical officials said.

Islamic Jihad, a violent group backed by Syria and Iran, has carried out several deadly attacks in Israel, including a suicide bombing last month that killed nine people.

Israel conducts arrest operations almost nightly in West Bank towns, reports the AP.


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