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Three Palestinians killed in Gaza explosion-medics
Updated: 2004-08-03 13:56

Three Palestinians were killed in an explosion in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Tuesday, medics said.

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz (R) and Beni Kashriel, mayor of Maale Adumim settlement, look at maps of the new route of Israel's security barrier during Mofaz's visit in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumin. Israel gave a new push to its settlement programme in defiance of the internationally-backed roadmap peace plan by approving the construction of 600 new homes in the West Bank, officials said. [AFP]

Witnesses said they believed the blast was caused by a missile fired by Israeli helicopter gunships. The Israeli army said it was checking the report.

"There was a big explosion, bodies fell on us and there was shrapnel flying," said one witness.

The incident took place near the border with Egypt, a frequent scene of fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants.

Rafah residents said they believed the explosion occurred among a group of people milling near the border.

Israeli helicopter gunships have frequently fired missiles at militants in Gaza. Palestinians have also sometimes been killed when their explosives detonated prematurely.

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