Israeli army starts withdrawal from Bethlehem

Israel Defense Forces troops started withdrawing from most areas of the West Bank city of Bethlehem Friday morning after a sweep operation for militants that lasted a few hours, Israel Radio reported.

The Israeli troops entered Bethlehem after a Palestinian policeman from the town carried out a suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem the day before, the report said.

Meanwhile, IDF troops in the Gaza Strip shot dead two armed Palestinians near the Dugit Jewish settlement, the radio reported earlier.

The soldiers opened fire on five Palestinians approaching the settlement and found explosive devices in the area of the shooting.

Palestinian sources had reported one of the Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip was a 17-year-old boy.

Witnesses said the Israeli soldiers detained 12 Palestinians.

It was the first time in six months for IDF troops to enter the area to search for militants.

On Thursday morning, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives on a bus in central Jerusalem, killing at least 10 people and wounding 50 others.

A leaflet signed by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah movement, had claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the bomber as Muneer Ja'ara, a police officer from Bethlehem. 

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---