Six killed in Gaza Strip fighting

April 10th, 2008 - 12:06 am ICT by admin  

Tel Aviv/Gaza City, April 9 (DPA) Six people - three Israelis and three Palestinians - were killed in separate incidents in the volatile Gaza Strip Wednesday, in a morning gun battle in the south and in a clash in the central Strip in the afternoon. The Israeli military said two more militants were killed in an air strike on a car immediately after the crossing point gun battle, but Palestinian officials claimed they were only wounded.

The firefight broke out when seven militants infiltrated the Nahal Oz crossing point and opened fire, killing two Israeli civilians and wounding two more, before being attacked by Israeli troops.

Two of the infiltrators were killed, a military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said.

The Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Mujahidin Brigades of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement claimed joint responsibility for the attack on the crossing, the main entry point for Israeli fuel deliveries to the salient.

The three groups said in the leaflet that the militants had infiltrated via a tunnel.

Immediately after the clash an Israeli airstrike targeted a car in the Zeitoon neighbourhood southeast of Gaza City.

An Israeli military spokeswoman initially said two occupants of the car were killed, but Palestinian security officials said three people were injured, one of them critically.

Earlier Wednesday, an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian militant were killed in a heavy gun battle near the southern Gaza Strip border with Israel, both sides reported.

The gunbattle erupted after Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled some 800 metres into the southern Gaza Strip, into al-Qarara village, east of the city of Khan Younis near the border fence with Israel, at around 2:00 am, the residents said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the force entered to push back militants from the border fence area, from where they had been firing from there at Israeli soldiers patrolling the border. She said the army had also discovered a tunnel dug by militants in the area.

Militants opened machinegun fire and launched an anti-tank missile at the force, sparking the gun battle, while Israeli helicopter gunships fired twice from the air at groups of gunmen involved in the fighting, the military spokeswoman said.

She said one Israeli soldier was killed and two lightly injured. The troops took in for questioning 10 Palestinians, she said. The army had earlier imposed military censorship on his death until his relatives were informed.

The radical Islamic Hamas movement ruling Gaza identified the Palestinian fatality as Mohammed Shameia, 23, a member of its armed wing.

The Israeli special force withdrew after dawn.

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