Israeli troops chased Palestinian militants through the narrow alleys of Nablus' (search) Old City early Saturday, setting off intense gunbattles that killed an elderly man who watched the fighting from a window, Palestinian witnesses said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman had no immediate comment and was checking the reports.

At 2:30 a.m., witnesses saw 15 Israeli army jeeps enter the Old City in search of members of militant groups. The troops exchanged heavy fire with gunmen, chasing after them through the dark alleys, witnesses said.

A resident of the city, Fathi Bolbol, 80, died from bullet wounds, said doctors at Rafidya Hospital (search). His son Bashar, 35, said the elderly man was found dead on the floor next to his bed and that apparently he had gone to the window to see what was happening when he was struck by gunfire.

His room was riddled with bullets, his son said.

Israeli soldiers routinely search Nablus and its Old City for members of Hamas (search), Islamic Jihad and other militant groups that have dispatched homicide bombers and other attackers. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed in those attacks.

Gunmen in the Old City have taken to sleeping during the day and keeping on the move at night to try to hide from Israeli troops.