Ali Daraghmeh And Diaa Hadid
The Associated Press
July 11, 2008 - 2:40pm

West Bank (AP) -- Israeli troops killed a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on an Israeli civilian driving in the West Bank early Friday, the military and Palestinian officials said.

An Israeli officer was also wounded in the nighttime clash, the military said.

The gunman opened fire on the civilian driving near the Palestinian town of Qalqilya just after midnight, lightly wounding him, the military said, and then shot at troops who arrived on the scene.

The gunman shot and wounded one officer before troops returned fire and killed him, the military said.

No Palestinian group immediately claimed responsibility.

But Palestinian security officials said the man, 49, was a member of Hamas who was wanted by Israel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the incident to the media.

The West Bank is ruled by moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but militant cells remain active in the territory. Israel is concerned that Hamas could seize power in the West Bank as it did in Gaza last year, and continues to carry out operations targeting militants, saying Abbas' forces are not yet ready to assume responsibility for security.

Violent incidents are less common in the West Bank than in the Gaza Strip. But the West Bank is not included in a truce between Israel and militant groups that took effect in Gaza last month.


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