Israeli killed as vehicles attacked

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The Independent Online

Armed Palestinians opened fire on Israeli vehicles in the Gaza Strip early Sunday and killed an Israeli civilian, the Israeli military said. Five others were wounded, a rescue service spokesman said.

The attack took place in a civilian area near two Israeli settlements in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, next to a firing range next to the regional military command post, the military said. Soldiers killed two Palestinian attackers, according to the military.

Israel Radio reported that five people were wounded in gunfire at the Israeli vehicles. Yerucham Mandola, a spokesman for the rescue services, said heavy exchanges of fire between soldiers and the armed Palestinians were preventing ambulances from entering the area.

The attack came nine hours after suicide bombers blew themselves up in downtown Jerusalem, killing 10 people and themselves and wounding more than 150.

Avi Farhan, an Israeli settler in northern Sinai, said he heard gunshots aimed at a car before the Palestinians entered the firing range. He complained that fences around the settlements are inadequate. Several weeks ago armed Palestinians entered one of the settlements and killed two Israelis before they were shot dead.

On Thursday, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in northern Israel, killing himself and three Israelis, just as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was about to lave for the United States. Sharon denounced that attack, but decided to go ahead with the trip.

Israel's security Cabinet was convening in emergency session to discuss the attacks, but no decisions were expected before Sharon returns to Israel.

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