HEBRON, West Bank - Israeli troops killed a Hamas militant in the West Bank town of Hebron early Sunday, surrounding a house and exchanging gunfire with the man before bulldozing the structure.
A Hamas statement said the 25-year-old man was a group member who fought troops for 12 hours before he was killed. The statement threatened retaliation "at the time and place we choose."
The Israeli military said during the gunfight, troops heard explosions from inside the house, presumably from bombs stored inside. The militant's mangled body was seen being removed from the rubble.
Israel and Hamas are observing a cease-fire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. But the agreement does not apply in the West Bank, ruled by moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli troops continue to target militants in the territory, despite objections from Abbas that such actions embarrass him and undermine his control.
According a statement from the military, the militant, identified as Shaheb Natshe, helped to plan a February suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona that killed a 73-year-old woman and wounded 11.
Israel says Abbas' forces are not yet ready to assume control for security.
In Cairo, Abbas said Egypt plans to relaunch reconciliation talks between his Fatah faction and Hamas. The Islamic Hamas and the largely secular Fatah carried on a violent rivalry for control in Gaza for years. In June 2007, Hamas routed Fatah's forces and seized control of the territory. There have been few signs of Fatah resistance since.
Relations between the two Palestinian factions deteriorated sharply last week, after a car bombing killed six people in Gaza and sparked the toughest Hamas crackdown against its Fatah rivals in months.
Fatah has denied involvement in the blast. But Hamas said Sunday that Palestinian security forces loyal to Abbas have arrested 36 Hamas activists across the West Bank in retaliation for the arrests of the Fatah members.
Human rights groups said Hamas released over a dozen of the at least 160 Fatah men it arrested Saturday in connection with the bombing a day earlier, which killed five Hamas men and a 6-year-old girl. But Hamas police remained deployed in force around Gaza City, manning roadblocks and checking cars.