| An Israeli youth prays in Tel Aviv. (AFP)
Tulkarm (West Bank), Aug. 25 (Agencies): Israeli troops killed five Palestinians in a West Bank raid and Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel today, rattling a ceasefire and hopes raised by a removal of Jewish settlers from occupied land.
The flare-up, which included the fatal stabbing of a British Jew by a Palestinian in Jerusalem yesterday, was the first since Israel finished scrapping all 21 settlements in Gaza and four of 120 in the West Bank on Tuesday.
A new surge of violence would jeopardise a truce that largely held as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carried out his “Disengagement Plan” and make it harder to capitalise on the pullout by reviving West Asia peacemaking.
Troops who raided Tulkarm refugee camp in the West Bank overnight killed five militants in a gunbattle after they resisted arrest for suspected involvement in two suicide bombings in Israel this year, the Israeli army said.
Palestinian witnesses said three of the dead were unarmed teenagers and two were militants, one from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed group in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, and the other from Islamic Jihad.
“The enemy should prepare coffins because we will respond quickly and decisively in the depths of the Zionist entity,” Islamic Jihad said.
Shortly afterwards, a rocket fired from north Gaza crashed near the Israeli town of Sderot, causing no damage or injuries, in an attack claimed by the Popular Resistance Committees, made up of former Fatah members.
About 100 pets left behind when settlers were evacuated from Gaza ' including an iguana ' have been rounded up by animal rights groups, the Israeli government said in a statement. The ones captured so far include dogs, cats, birds, turtles, a donkey and the iguana.