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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Palestinians seized from hospital
Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli tank during clashes in the West Bank city of Nablus
Tensions are high in Nablus
Undercover Israeli troops have detained two Palestinian militants being treated in hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian sources say.

The two had been admitted last Friday for treatment to wounds they received in clashes with Israeli forces.

The authorities accuse one of the men arrested of being responsible for several attacks in which at least 10 people have been killed, Haaretz newspaper says.

Israel has vowed to hunt and kill leaders of Palestinian groups involved in attacks on its citizens.

On Sunday, the Israeli military targeted a senior military commander of the military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, killing four members.

The Israeli strike came days after a suicide bomb attack left 21 dead in Jerusalem.

You cannot just arrest a patient in intensive care... His life is in danger now
Hospital official

The two men arrested are reportedly members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.

The Nablus' chief of the group Khaled Namrudi was killed on Friday after he and the two men had ventured onto the roof of the hospital.

Israeli soldiers had surrounded the hospital early on Tuesday before evacuating the two in military ambulances, a doctor said.

Militant fears

Hospital officials said one of the men was on a respirator when the plainclothes Israelis burst in before sunrise followed by soldiers with dogs.

"You cannot just arrest a patient in intensive care. His life is in danger now," one hospital official told Reuters.

According to Israeli public radio the pair are now in Belinsohn hospital in Tel Aviv where they will be questioned by domestic intelligence agents.

Many Palestinian militants are now in hiding fearing arrest.

Hamas leaflets hung in mosques instruct members to take precautions - such as not travelling in groups, avoiding use of their telephones, using make-up to disguise themselves and staying off main streets - so as not to be easy targets for Israeli "assassination".

Israel and the Palestinians



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