Six armed Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza

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The Independent Online

Israeli troops shot dead six armed Palestinians on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip as they prepared to carry out attacks, Israeli army officials said.

Israeli troops shot dead six armed Palestinians on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip as they prepared to carry out attacks, Israeli army officials said.

The Israeli forces shot dead the Palestinian militants in two separate confrontations only a short distance apart in Gaza.

"In spite of the reduction in overall terrorist attacks against us in the last week or so, there are still many attempts by terrorists to enter Israel and to kill Israelis," Israeli government spokesman Arieh Meckel said today.

The Palestinian leadership, meanwhile, called the shootings a "dangerous escalation and a clear indicator that the government has not given up its military plan against the Palestinian people."

In one shooting, three Palestinians wearing belts packed with explosives were trying to cross the fence on Gaza's northern border with Israel, the army said.

The trio was spotted by Israeli forces and ordered to halt. One of the Palestinian gunmen opened fire, and all three were killed by Israeli return fire, the army added.

"Judging by the belt bombs, the weapons and the grenades, they intended to carry out a major attack," Israeli Brigadier Israel Ziv, the commander of the Gaza Strip, told army radio.

In the other shooting, three Palestinians with automatic rifles and a bomb were hit by Israeli fire as they approached a Jewish settlement of Alei Sinai at the northern end of Gaza, the army said.

Palestinian security sources said the three men shot were part of the Popular Resistance Committee, a coalition of Palestinian groups that includes members of Arafat's Fatah movement.

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