RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israeli troops raided the Palestinian military headquarters early Wednesday and arrested 18 fugitives who had sought shelter there, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.
In the raid, some 30 military jeeps surrounded the three-story building in a residential neighborhood in southern Ramallah. Troops firing stun grenades and shooting in the air called on the fugitives to surrender, then entered the compound and seized 18 wanted men, Palestinian security officials said.
Khaled Qawasmeh, who lives next to the compound, said soldiers searched the building. They carried out weapons and other military equipment, then laid it out in the street and photographed it.
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Among those taken was Khalil Shilo, a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. Shilo had been on the run for seven years, since the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.
The operation came a week after an Israeli arrest sweep through the West Bank city of Nablus.
The army confirmed the arrest of 18 fugitives, and said they were all allied with Fatah. The fugitives were suspected of involvement in shooting attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as attempted kidnappings, the army said.
Most of the Palestinian security forces are linked to Fatah, and fugitives were known to sleep in the military intelligence compound from time to time.
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