Israel clashes with Palestinian militants

April 3, 2006 at 10:26 AM

GAZA, April 3 (UPI) -- The vicious cycle of Mideast violence continued Monday as Fatah militants bombarded Israel in retaliation for the killing of a fighter in the West Bank.

Israeli forces killed Raed Obiyat, a leading member of Fatah's military wing, al-Aqsa Brigades, in a pre-dawn incursion into the city of Bethlehem during which they encircled a house where the wanted militant was hiding.

Clashes occurred during which Obiyat was killed, Israeli military forces said, adding that another Fatah militant was captured in the operation.

Hours later, al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Iranian-made Shihab-3 rockets at the city of Majdel in south Israel in response to Obiyat's killing.

A statement from the armed group said "the Zionist enemy assumes responsibility for the consequences of this crime," noting that all units of al-Aqsa Brigades "were placed on maximum alert in the West Bank and Gaza to deal with the escalation."

The statement also urged all militants "to take extra precautions from the enemy and its collaborators."

Palestinian sources said Israel arrested 13 Palestinians, including two women, in overnight raids in several parts of the West Bank.

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