Gaza clashes leave 5 militants, 3 Israeli soldiers dead

April 16th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by admin  

Gaza City/Tel Aviv, April 16 (DPA) Separate early morning clashes in the Gaza Strip Wednesday left three Israeli soldiers and five Palestinian militants - four from Hamas and one from the Islamic Jihad - dead, Palestinian and Israeli spokesmen said. The three soldiers were killed in an early morning firefight with gunmen, who were spotted approaching the heavily-guarded fence which separates the Strip from Israel, just south of the Nahal Oz crossing point, east of Jebalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Nahal Oz, the Gaza Strip’s main entry point for fuel deliveries, was attacked one week ago by Palestinian militants who killed two Israeli civilians working there.

Earlier Wednesday, four Hamas militants were killed, and five others wounded, as they confronted an Israeli army force in eastern Gaza City.

Hamas’ armed wing said it fired around 57 mortars at the force consisting of tanks, armoured vehicles and bulldozers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said the force was on a “routine operation” against the infrastructure which allowed missiles and mortars to be fired from the area at southern Israel.

She confirmed the force had come under fire.

Residents of Sheja’eya neighbourhood said the Israeli operation began at around midnight, with explosions and gunfire lasting for the rest of the night.

They said he Israeli force pulled back across the border in the early hours of the morning, having stormed several houses and detained a senior Hamas member, who is the brother of Khalil el-Hayya, a Hamas leader in parliament.

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