Jerusalem, Sep 26 (IANS): Israel said on Sunday that its troops killed four armed Hamas operatives in the West Bank during an overnight raid.
An Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement that the four were killed amid fire exchanges during an operation to arrest suspects involved in a Hamas cell in five different locations in the West Bank, reports Xinhua news agency.
The first incident took place just after midnight, as Israeli forces raided the Jenin area in the northern West Bank.
Gunmen opened fire at troops in the town of Burqin near Jenin after the troops encircled a building where suspects were hiding.
The soldiers responded with fire, killing one of the gunmen, according to the statement.
Near Ramallah city in the central West Bank, Israeli troops killed three other armed suspects during fire exchanges, the spokesperson said, adding that three more Palestinians were arrested.
In response to the killings, Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanua warned in a statement the deaths of the Palestinians "will fuel the Palestinian protest and struggle by all means".
Al-Qanua said the killings were a result of the security coordination between Israel and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority and the meetings between senior officials of the two sides.
"The Palestinian Authority must immediately stop the security coordination," he said.
The West Bank was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israel has controlled these territories ever since, despite international criticism.