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Israeli troops raid village, kill militant

In a 10-hour raid Monday on a Palestinian village, Israeli troops killed an Islamic militant and arrested 45 residents, including 16 on Israel's wanted list.

Israel also continued to hold parts of two Palestinian towns in the northern part of the West Bank.

Troops moved into six towns after the Oct. 17 assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister. Officials said they were delaying a pullback from the last two because of intelligence reports of attempts by Palestinian militants to mount attacks in Israel.

The U.S. State Department has repeatedly criticized the Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas and called on Israel to withdraw and stay out.

In the latest Israeli incursion, soldiers moved into the West Bank village of Tel, next to the city of Nablus, about 2 a.m. Sealing off the village, they went from house to house, arresting suspected militants.

At one house, soldiers shot and killed Muhammed Reihan, 25, a senior member of the Islamic militant group Hamas. Reihan had been on Israel's wanted list since 1998 for the killing of two residents of the nearby Jewish settlement of Yitzhar.

Reihan's father, Yussef, 57, said that Israeli soldiers surrounded his house and opened fire and that Muhammed went outside with a rifle, where he was killed. Then, he said, soldiers allowed the women to go to a nearby house and strip-searched the men.

The Israeli military said troops came under fire during the raid and returned fire, killing one of the gunmen.

The army said soldiers detained 45 residents of Tel. In a statement, the military said 16 were on wanted lists for a long time and belonged to the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as the Tanzim militia, affiliated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group.

The statement said the detainees were turned over to Israeli security services for questioning. The military also said many weapons were found during the incursion.

ISRAELI ARAB LAWMAKER CHARGED: An Israeli Arab lawmaker who, in speeches in Syria and at home, has praised Lebanese guerrillas for causing the Israeli army's withdrawal from south Lebanon, was charged Monday with incitement to violence.

The legislator, Azmi Bishara, said he is innocent. He said his statements in Syria were pacifist and that he has never advocated violence. The charges against him are an Israeli government attempt to intimidate the Arab population and limit their participation in Israeli politics, he said at a news conference in the Palestinian city of Ramallah on Monday.

The indictments follow the removal of Bishara's parliamentary immunity last week. It was the first time an Israeli legislator was stripped of his immunity for stating his opinions.

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