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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Israelis re-enter West Bank town
Palestinians watch digging through rubble of destroyed houses in Jenin refugee camp
Israel denies claims of a massacre in Jenin
Israeli forces have raided the West Bank town of Qalqilya, shortly after a new plea from President George Bush to complete their military withdrawal.

About 15 Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers went into the town and three villages early on Friday, according to witnesses.

Troops conducted house-to-house searches after declaring a curfew and arrested 13 suspected Palestinian militants. It is the second such raid since Israeli forces began pulling out of the town on 9 April.

And the Israeli military said it had killed a local leader of the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine faction in the town, named as Raed Nazal.

Just hours earlier President Bush said Israel "must finish its withdrawal, including resolution of stand-offs in Ramallah and Bethlehem, in a non-violent way".

He also said the Palestinians must "do more to stop terror".

President Bush was speaking after an informal summit at his Texas ranch with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah.

The Saudi leader warned him of grave consequences to US interests in the Middle East unless Washington did more to restrain Israel.

Jenin mission

Israel has asked the UN to delay sending its fact-finding mission to examine the Israeli army's assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

The UN had responded to one of Israel's earlier demands over the Jenin mission by adding two military officers to the delegation.

But the Israeli prime minister's office asked that the UN team be held back until remaining contentious points were resolved.

The Israelis say their incursion in Jenin earlier this month was part of the military operation to destroy "terrorist cells".

However the Palestinians have accused Israel of a massacre and allege war crimes were committed during the occupation.

Israeli incursions

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Jerusalem says the latest incursion in Qalqilya follows a pattern the army has repeated across the West Bank - withdrawing from the centre of towns, encircling them and then going back in when it says it has information about "terrorist" suspects.

Yasser Arafat
Israel says Arafat might be allowed to go to Gaza
An army statement said the "activity in Qalqilya... will continue until the mission is completed".

Israel has pulled back from most of the West Bank towns it reoccupied in the offensive launched on 29 March.

But Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat remains confined to his shell-blasted Ramallah headquarters, surrounded by Israeli troops who smashed their way in at the start of the offensive.


Meanwhile, the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem continues.

Four Palestinians, some said to be in police uniform, surrendered to Israeli troops. Another two were shot and wounded, then taken into custody.

Earlier, eight of the nine Palestinian youths allowed to leave the church on Thursday were released.

The Israelis say they are still questioning the other youth.

See also:

26 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israel seeks delay on Jenin mission
26 Apr 02 | Middle East
Jenin tactics under the spotlight
25 Apr 02 | Middle East
Zeevi dispute unresolved
30 Mar 02 | Middle East
Inside Arafat's compound
25 Apr 02 | Middle East
No breakthrough in Bethlehem talks
24 Apr 02 | Middle East
Mubarak denounces Israel
24 Apr 02 | Middle East
Hamas bans children's 'sacrifices'
04 Apr 02 | Middle East
Church with a turbulent history
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