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Clashes erupt during Israeli raid to arrest a Hamas leader in the West Bank

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RAMALLAH, West Bank — An Israeli raid to arrest a senior Hamas operative in the West Bank turned into a gunbattle Monday night, leaving several wounded in the clashes.

The Israeli military said Israeli forces surrounded a house where the wanted man was suspected of hiding in Jenin late Monday. Israeli officials declined to name the wanted operative, though Palestinians identified him as Majdi Abu Alhaija.

After forces repeatedly called on Alhaija to surrender, they demolished the house, the military said.

Hundreds of Palestinians rioted in the area, hurling rocks and firebombs at the Israeli forces, the military said.

A Palestinian security official said Palestinian gunmen exchanged heavy fire with Israeli soldiers, and 20 Palestinians were taken to hospital after being wounding by Israeli rubber bullets. An Israeli paramilitary border police officer also was moderately wounded in the fighting.

Israelis arrested Alhaija, his brother and his 15-year-old son, the Palestinian official said. Soldiers also tried to arrest a member of the Islamic Jihad group but couldn't find him, he said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief journalists.

The clashes lasted till dawn Tuesday.

Shortly before dawn, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel early Tuesday, but the rocket appeared to have landed inside Gaza, the Israeli military said.

A small Salafist group in Gaza affiliated with the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for firing two rockets Tuesday toward Israel, saying it was in retaliation for the West Bank arrest raid.

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