A fierce Israeli army raid in a crowded West Bank refugee camp confined thousands to their homes for a third straight day Thursday and residents said they were running out of food and water.

In a separate Israeli raid Thursday on the Gaza Strip, a 17-year-old died when he was hit by shrapnel and run over by an army bulldozer, Palestinian hospital officials said.

There were indications that the West Bank operation targeting militants in the Ein Bet Ilmeh camp next to the city of Nablus was nearing its end. But the raid was especially painful for the 5,000 refugees who live there because it came during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslim families normally gather for large feasts at nightfall to end their daytime fast.

Israeli media reported before sundown Thursday that soldiers captured a cell of four militants from Hamas and the Popular Front groups who were allegedly planning a suicide attack. That was the stated goal of the raid, signaling that it was close to conclusion.

Israeli troops backed by tanks and bulldozers launched the raid Tuesday and two Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed in the first two days of fighting.

The army said it was allowing food, medicine and ambulances into the camp. But with a tight curfew since Tuesday, some residents said they could not leave their homes to buy food. (MORE)


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