By Mohammed Ballas
TAMOUN, West Bank —
An arrest raid by undercover Israeli soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors ignited rare clashes in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, residents said, leaving at least eight Palestinians wounded.
Israeli army raids into Palestinian areas to seize activists and militants are fairly common. The raids are normally coordinated with Palestinian security forces, and suspects are usually apprehended without violence.
The clashes began early Tuesday after Israeli forces disguised as merchants in a vegetable truck arrested one man. Regular army forces then entered the town, prompting youths to hurl rocks to try to prevent more arrests.
Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as youths set tires and bins on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers.
Faris Bisharat, a resident of Tamoun, said 10 men were wounded, some by live fire. Bisharat said the wanted men belong to Islamic Jihad, a violent group sworn to Israel’s destruction. It wasn’t clear how many men Israeli forces sought to arrest. There were no immediate details on how seriously the eight were hurt.
The Israeli military said it arrested a “terrorist affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group.” It said two soldiers were injured during the raid.
The fighting, which broke out in several parts of the town of some 8,000 people, were a rare, angry response. It was also unusual for Israeli forces to use live fire toward Palestinian demonstrators. Israel says it uses live fire only in extremely dangerous situations.