HEBRON, West Bank - Israeli troops shot dead a fugitive leader of Hamas's military wing in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.
Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, accused the Palestinian forces of its secular rival President Mahmoud Abbas of helping Israel hunt militants like Abdel Majid Dudin who was killed after troops encircled a house near Hebron.
(They) called on him to give himself up, an army spokesman said. They opened fire at him after he had shot at them.
An official in the security services of Abbas's Palestinian Authority said they had long wanted to question Dudin but had not been involved in tracking him down and killing him.
Dudin, 45, was jailed by Palestinians after Israel accused him of planning two suicide bombings on buses in 1995, the army spokesman said. He was released from a jail in the West Bank city of Jericho when a Palestinian uprising began in 2000.
Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, have been building up a new Palestinian security force with Western help.
It is intended to help convince Israel that Palestinians are meeting commitments to rein in militants and so foster progress on negotiations with Israel to establish a Palestinian state.
Hamas members have been jailed in the West Bank and some accuse Abbas's forces of torture and other abuses of prisoners.
Abbas was to meet U.S. President Barack Obama later on Thursday at the White House where he was expected to complain that Israel, led by new premier Benjamin Netanyahu, is not reciprocating under the terms of U.S.-brokered accords, notably by refusing to freeze Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Israel points to Abbas's loss to Hamas in 2007 of Gaza, from where militants have since launched thousands of rockets, and to Hamas's organization and support in the West Bank as reasons for maintaining Israel's occupation there.
Unlike Abbas, Hamas refuses to accept Israel's right to exist or to recognize interim peace accords.
Hamas official Mushir al-Masri accused Abbas and Fayyad of responsibility for the assassination of Dudin through their cooperation with Israeli forces.
Abdallah Abdallah, a legislator from Abbas's Fatah party, replied: It is shameful of Hamas to level such accusations. The martyr Dudin is a martyr for the whole Palestinian people.