April 14, 2016 / 8:52 AM / 2 years ago

Israeli troops spark fire during raid on Palestinian business

EL BIREH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops sparked a fire that gutted about 10 Palestinian shops on Thursday after they tried to blow open safes in a raid on a money-changing office suspected of handling funds for militants.

Palestinian policemen stand guard in front of a building housing Palestinian shops after a fire which was sparked by Israeli troops, in the West Bank town of El Bireh April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

The fire brigade in El Bireh, in the occupied West Bank, said no one was hurt in the blaze that spread through a three-storey commercial building in the town before opening hours.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers out to confiscate documents from “a money-changer who deals with terror funds” attempted to open safes using a controlled explosion and a fire erupted. She said the military had begun an investigation of the incident.

El Bireh is a part of the West Bank that is under the security and administrative control of the Palestinian self-rule authority. Citing security concerns, Israel frequently carries out raids against suspected militant activity in such territory.

Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Alison Williams

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