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Palestinian militant killed in Israeli raid

world Updated: Apr 26, 2010 13:02 IST

A Hamas soldier wanted by Israel was killed on Monday when Israeli troops raided the home of one of his relatives in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian security officials said.

Ali Sweti, 40, a member of Hamas's Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades, was suspected of anti-Israeli attacks. A Hamas website said he had been on the run for eight years.

The security officials said Sweti refused to surrender after soldiers surrounded the relative's house in Beit Awwa, near the town of Hebron. A gun battle ensued and an Israeli bulldozer demolished part of the dwelling. Relatives said Sweti's body was found under the rubble along with his rifle.

An Israeli army spokesman, giving only general details of the operation, said soldiers had operated in the area and a gun battle had taken place.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned Israeli raids in the West Bank, saying such operations undermine its attempts to police the area effectively.

Hamas, an Islamist group, opposes Middle East peace efforts promoted by international mediators because they refuse to deal with Hamas unless it recognises Israel, renounces violence and accepts existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals.

In 2007, Hamas won the elections in Gaza Strip and got control of the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.