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Firefight Near Settlement Kills 3 in the Gaza Strip

June 16, 2002|From Times Wire Services

JERUSALEM — A firefight near a Jewish settlement in the northern Gaza Strip left two Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian gunman dead Saturday, the Israeli military said, hours after its troops rolled into the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarm.

Soldiers on patrol near the Jewish settlement of Dugit encountered armed Palestinians, the military announced. In addition to the three people killed, four soldiers were wounded.

An army commander said the militants had planned to lure soldiers to a booby-trapped car by firing mortars and then detonating explosives when troops came to search the area.

The attack came after Israeli troops moved into Jenin and Tulkarm late Friday and early Saturday, searching for militant activity before withdrawing.

Tanks backed by helicopters shot and destroyed four small workshops in Jenin but no one was injured, Palestinian security officials said. The army said it was unaware of any tank fire.

Israeli radio stations quoted security officials as saying the troops had searched unsuccessfully for a suicide bomber planning to carry out an attack this week.

Israel has launched almost daily raids on Palestinian-ruled territory, keeping up pressure on militants after an offensive unleashed in March because of a spate of Palestinian suicide bombings.

Late Saturday, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into a nearby Israeli community, but no injuries or damage were reported.

Also Saturday, Israeli military officials said soldiers had found a car full of homemade explosives near the Elei Sinai settlement in the Gaza Strip.

And the army reported that troops had on Friday captured a Palestinian militant, Fadi Duwaik, in Hebron for allegedly carrying out a shooting attack in a nearby Jewish settlement that killed four.

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