Israeli soldiers kill 'two armed coast raiders'

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The Independent Online

Israeli soldiers killed two armed Palestinians dressed in diving uniforms who attempted to infiltrate a Gaza Strip settlement from the coast, the army said today.

Israeli soldiers killed two armed Palestinians dressed in diving uniforms who attempted to infiltrate a Gaza Strip settlement from the coast, the army said today.

The bodies were found near the Tel Katif settlement, the latest in a series of failed attempts to avenge Israel's assassination of the Hamas spiritual leader, after the men opened fire on an army outpost guarding the settlement shortly before midnight. They were armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the army said.

Tensions — especially in the Gaza Strip — have increased significantly since Israel assassinated Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin on Monday. The Islamic group has vowed bloody revenge, saying even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a target.

At the United Nations, the United States yesterday vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for the assassination. The U.S. ambassador complained that the text did not mention Hamas attacks against Israelis.

The Hamas military wing issued a rare videotaped statement Thursday, threatening retaliation against Israelis in graphic terms.

The statement pledged "a strong, earthshaking response to make the sons of monkeys and pigs taste a painful death."

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