Israeli police officers shot dead

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The Independent Online

Palestinian militants shot dead two Israeli policemen in an attack in the occupied West Bank yesterday, the first incident of its kind in the area for several months.

In Gaza, a spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, said a little-known group called the Imad Mougniyeh units had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group is named after a military commander of the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

The policemen were shot dead near the mainly agricultural Jewish settlement of Massuah, in an area of the West Bank close to the border with Jordan that is under Israeli security control.

An official from Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service said medics had found a car that had veered off the road and that the two men inside had suffered gunshot wounds.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian bulldozer driver was shot dead after attacking two police officers in their car with his vehicle in Jerusalem.

Last Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian youth and wounded another after firebombs were thrown at their vehicle in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has transferred some security control to Palestinian security forces in West Bank towns but controls much of the traffic that travels through the areas at checkpoints.

Most of the recent Israeli-Palestinian violence has taken place along Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip, where more than 1,300 Palestinians and 14 Israelis died in a recent 22-day Israeli offensive targeting Islamist Hamas militants.