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Israeli troops on West Bank raid kill Hamas man, say he had bomb

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed a member of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, witnesses and medics said.

A spokesman for Israel’s paramilitary border police said its troops were in Jenin as part of a predawn operation against suspected militants, when they saw a Palestinian preparing to throw a pipe bomb at them and shot him.

“He was shot by a unit providing covering fire for the unit that he was about to attack,” the spokesman said.

Jenin residents and hospital officials said the 23-year-old Palestinian was shot in the back. They said there were no wider confrontations at the time with the Israeli troops.

Hamas, which has a limited presence in the West Bank though it exercises de facto control over the other Palestinian territory of Gaza, claimed the dead Palestinian as a member.

On a Hamas website, the group said he was killed after coming out of a mosque after prayers there.

The Israeli border police spokesman said the Jenin raid was not coordinated in advance with the security forces of U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which operate in parallel in West Bank cities.

Writing by Dan Williams and Ali Samoudi; Editing by Michael Perry and Tom Heneghan