Islamic Jihad's West Bank Leader Killed by Israeli Troops

Israeli troops killed two Islamic Jihad militants on Saturday, including the man the group described as the leader of its militant wing in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The group had initially said in an announcement over mosque loudspeakers that the slain militant, Hani Awijan, 29, was the leader of its military wing in the West Bank. However, other members of the group later said Awijan headed gunmen in Nablus only.

Initial reports said Awijan was shot by Israeli undercover troops trying to arrest him while he was playing soccer with friends and relatives.

The army confirmed soldiers operated in Nablus and said a militant was killed in an exchange of fire.

Israel Radio said Awijan was responsible for a series of attacks on Israelis.

News of the arrest raid spread through Nablus, and large crowds gathered at the hospital. Militants burned tires in the streets and called for a general strike in the city. Shops were quickly closed.