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Israeli army kills three armed Palestinians

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Israeli troops killed three armed Palestinians on Sunday, one of them in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank and two in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, officials on both sides said.

In the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem, Israeli troops shot dead Mohammad Qozah, 25, of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a group loosely linked with president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, medics and Palestinian security sources said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops entered the Tulkarem refugee camp in search of two militants and shot at the men as they tried to flee. One of the men was killed and the other wounded and evacuated to hospital in Israel.

A statement by the Israeli army later said that Qozah "was recently involved in an attempted suicide attack inside Israel" as well as attacks with explosives and automatic weapons against soldiers in Tulkarem.

The army arrested several Palestinians linked to Qozah, the statement added.

In the Gaza Strip, two militants - one from Islamic Jihad and another from the Popular Resistance Committees - were killed early on Sunday.

The army said that an Israeli patrol saw the men approaching the border fence that separates the impoverished territory from Israel and killed the militants in a subsequent exchange of fire.

Palestinian medics and witnesses said the two men were killed after shooting at an Israeli patrol that had entered the central Gaza Strip.

Later in the day eight people were wounded in the north of the Gaza Strip by Israeli artillery fire, medics said. © 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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