Israeli Troops on High Alert; Palestinian Killed

Israeli (searchtroops shot to death a Palestinian (search) man early Friday near the West Bank city of Jenin amid intense security over threatened attacks by the militant Islamic group Hamas (search).

Israeli forces were on high alert and planned to restrict entry by Palestinians to Friday prayers at a disputed Jerusalem holy site, fearing riots, the police said.

In the village of Qabatiya near Jenin, Palestinian rescue workers said they found the body of Ahmed Nazal, 28, in a bullet riddled car in an open field. Rescue workers said Nazal was unarmed.

The army said that a patrol had come under fire from a vehicle that tried to flee at high speed. They gave chase and opened fire after the car refused to stop.

Also Friday, a Palestinian militant, Mohammed Gelita, died in an Israeli hospital of wounds sustained in a Feb. 1. firefight with troops in the West Bank town of Jericho, the army said.

Israeli forces across the country were on high alert following vows by Hamas to avenge the killing of 15 Palestinians in an army raid on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Fearing riots to protest the raid, police imposed tight rules on who could attend Friday prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City. The prayers are held at a disputed site known as the Temple Mount to Jews and Haram as-Sharif to Muslims.

Palestinian men with Israeli identification cards over the age of 45 and all women with the cards could attend, police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

Police feared that youths would provoke clashes.

All Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip were barred and police had beefed up forces in the area, Ben-Ruby said.

Control over the site, revered by Muslims and Jews, is one of the most hotly contested issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In other violence Friday, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia loosely linked with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, said they had killed a Bethlehem resident suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Al Aqsa said they had shot and killed Khaled Abu Assal, 28, after he confessed to aiding Israeli intelligence in tracking down militants.

His body was found dumped in a nearby neighborhood and taken to a local hospital, hospital officials said.