Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

By Ali Sawafta

QABATIYA, West Bank (Reuters) -Israeli forces raided a town in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing three Palestinians and detaining several others in what the army described as an operation to pre-empt militant attacks.

The West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the militant Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

During the raid in Qabatiya, troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said. The two Palestinians were killed and witnesses saw the body of one them being lifted out by an armoured bulldozer.

A third Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops elsewhere in the town, medical officials said.

There was no immediate claim of the dead men by any armed Palestinian faction. The army described the two killed in the building as "senior terrorists" without elaborating, and added that weapons were seized in the raid.

Several Palestinians were detained by troops, who also "exposed explosives planted into roads which were intended to be used to attack the forces", the army statement said.

A soldier was wounded during exchanges of fire, it added.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry and Alex Richardson)