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Israeli troops kill four Islamic militants
( 2003-09-25 13:54) (Agencies)

Israeli troops killed four Islamic militants during a raid into the el-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and an operation near the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, Palestinian and Israeli security sources said.

Palestinians carry a wounded man shot during a raid by Israeli troops in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip Sept. 24,2003. Israeli troops killed a 15-year-old Palestinian youth and wounded 11 others during the raid according to Palestinian medics and witnesses.  [Reuters]
Two of the militants were killed in fierce fighting during a raid into Bureij to arrest a senior Islamic Jihad member. The other two militants, including the leader of Islamic Jihad in the Hebron area, were killed in an exchange of fire overnight.

In Gaza, Israeli armor backed by helicopter gunships came under heavy Palestinian fire. They were attacked by grenades and remote-controlled mines during the raid, which a military official said was directed "against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad infrastructure in the camp."

The troops killed a member of Hamas' armed wing during a firefight at the entrance to the camp and an Islamic Jihad member during a battle inside a house that had been surrounded by Israeli troops as part of the arrest operation.

"There was very heavy fire from inside the house. Bombs and explosives were detonated from around the house and inside it. There was fighting, almost face-to-face, and one of the terrorists was killed," a military official said.

Six soldiers were wounded in the raid, three moderately, the official said. Six Palestinians were also wounded, Palestinian medics said.

In the incident near Hebron, soldiers engaged in a gun battle with two wanted militants holed up in a hideout near the West Bank city.

Automatic rifles and grenades were found with the bodies and in the building where they were hiding, the official said.

Palestinian residents said walls of the house were partially damaged and the building was riddled with bullets.

Israel has stepped up arrests of Islamic militants after a suicide bombing by Hamas killed 23 people on a Jerusalem bus last month.

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