Last updated: 25 June, 2014

Israel army presses operation in West Bank, arrests 17

Troops searching for three teenagers Israel says were kidnapped a fortnight ago by Hamas militants, arrested 17 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight, an army spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The arrests took place across the West Bank and included two Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament, Palestinian sources said.

The search operation sparked clashes south of the city of Hebron in which an 18-year-old Palestinian was seriously wounded by a live round to the stomach, Palestinian security sources.

Another Palestinian, Mustafa Aslan, 22, who was wounded Friday in similar clashes in Qalandia refugee camp outside Jerusalem, died of his injuries, his family said.

Israeli security decided to continue its “massive operations,” the army’s biggest deployment to the West Bank in a decade, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

The latest detentions raised to 371 the number of Palestinians arrested in the two weeks since the teens disappeared from a hitchhiking post in the southern West Bank.

Of that number, 282 are allied to the Islamist Hamas movement, an army spokesman told AFP.

He said soldiers had searched 1,955 locations and raided 64 Hamas institutions.

So far there has been no claim of responsibility and no sign of the missing students, with the search focusing on the southern West Bank.