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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Israelis hold hundreds in sweep
Detained Palestinians surrounding an Israeli soldier
Detained Palestinians were held in the courtyard of a school at Askar refugee camp
The Israeli army has rounded up about 300 Palestinian men in a raid on a West Bank refugee camp.

Witnesses said troops backed by armoured vehicles surrounded Askar camp, in the city of Nablus, and took the men into a school for questioning.

The Israeli army regularly targets Nablus in what it says are operations against Palestinian militants.

The raid came a day after Israeli forces withdrew from Nablus after more than a week of a searches and arrests.

The Israeli military said: "Several hundred Palestinians were stopped for questioning in order to check their connections with terrorist activity and organisations."

It said anyone found innocent of involvement in militant activity would be freed.

Meanwhile, in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, a commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militant group and his brother were detained during an operation at a maternity hospital. Israeli media said the two had been hiding in the hospital laundry room.

Rateb and Adnan Abayat were picked up in what an Israeli military source said was a "pinpointed operation targeting the terrorist infrastructure". An Israeli army spokesman said a weapons cache was discovered during the operation.

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