Four Palestinians, Israeli killed in shootings
Four Palestinians and an Israeli were shot dead in separate incidents of an upsurge of violence in Gaza and the West Bank on Wednesday, military sources and witnesses said.
Three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on a southern Gaza Strip refugee camp. A fourth Palestinian was shot trying to scale a border fence out of Gaza and an Israeli man was killed by a gunman in the West Bank.
Israeli soldiers opened fire in several instances at gunmen during a military raid in Khan Younis refugee camp launched in an effort to stop mortar attacks on nearby Jewish settlements, a military spokesman said.
Medics and witnesses said three gunmen were killed.
Dozens of Palestinian families fled their homes before armored bulldozers arrived. The raid into Khan Younis followed one last week the army said was intended to destroy mortar launch sites in which 11 Palestinians were killed.
"I cannot estimate how much longer we will have to stay there but we are doing our utmost not to harm the civilians in the area," Colonel Yoav Mordechai told Reuters.
But militants have vowed no let-up in their attacks on Jewish enclaves in Gaza as Israel presses ahead with a plan to remove all 21 settlements in the coastal strip and four of 120 in the West Bank in 2005.
Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who tried to scale the border fence out of the northern Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian gunman killed an Israeli man west of the city of Hebron, military sources said. Israeli media described the victim as a security guard.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to the mainstream Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the slaying. In a statement the group affirmed its "commitment to the option of resistance until the (Israeli) occupation ends."
The Israeli was shot at a point where a controversial barrier Israel is building lies close to the "Green Line" boundary that separated the West Bank from Israel before it was captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israel says the barrier it is building inside the West Bank helps to keep out suicide bombers. Palestinians call it an attempt to grab occupied land where they want a state. The International Court of Justice has said the barrier is illegal.