Six die in Palestinian raid on Gaza army post

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The Independent Online

Three Israeli soldiers and three Palestinian gunmen were killed yesterday in battles near the Gaza Strip settlement of Morag. The clash came a day after a woman suicide bomber killed two Israeli border police guards at a Jerusalem bus stop.

The militants infiltrated a military post early yesterday under cover of thick fog and ambushed a patrol. In an intensive exchange of fire, an Israeli captain and two sergeants were shot dead and a fourth soldier was critically wounded.

Other troops rushed out and killed two of the gunmen, who were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and grenades. They hunted down and killed a third, who was hiding among settlement greenhouses. Soldiers later found an unexploded bomb. A Palestinian sniper wounded Itzik Saban, one of a party of Israeli reporters touring the site.

The Morag raid was mounted jointly by three militant groups associated with Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The official Palestinian Authority website celebrated it as a "courageous guerrilla operation".

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli helicopter fired a missile into the Khan Yunis refugee camp, wounding 12 Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy. An 11-year-old girl died in hospital yesterday after being shot in the head by an Israeli sniper on 7 September.

Palestinian witnesses reported that about 20 military vehicles invaded the refugee camp yesterday after militants fired a mortar shell at the neighbouring settlement of Neve Dekalim. Israeli army bulldozers then demolished five houses and partly demolished seven homes.