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Israeli army to conduct major exercise in West Bank
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17:05, November 13, 2007

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Israeli army will conduct a major exercise next week, simulating a large-scale escalation of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank, local daily Ha'aretz reported on Tuesday.

The drill will be held just days before a U.S.-host Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, according to the mass-selling daily.

The drill simulates a scenario, in which terrorist organizations carry out a massive wave of attacks prior to the conference in order to ensure its failure.

The scenario also posits this campaign as Israeli army have limited forces to respond, due to ongoing tensions on the Syrian and Gazan borders, said the report.

It has been years since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) last conducted a drill of this type, as one planned for July 2006 was canceled due to the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians on Monday witnessed an actual escalation between Hamas forces and Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip.

At least seven people were killed and 55 wounded in exchanges of fire. All of the fatalities were either Fatah members or passersby.

Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas, terming its actions "an abominable crime."

Source: Xinhua

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