Israel kills five Palestinian activists; Three Palestinians shot dead late Tuesday in Gaza Strip - schoolchildren
Israeli troops killed Wednesday morning two Palestinians near the village of Bani Naim on the outskirts of Hebron. One of the dead was identified as Yaqoub Mohammed al-Sarayrah, a local leader of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction.
Palestinian sources reported that the confrontation took place in a cave where Palestinian activists were holed up. Witnesses said a helicopter fired missiles into the cave while tanks and bulldozers moved through the village. At least four other Palestinians wounded in this firefight.
Some 20 Palestinians were arrested in Bani Naim by the Israeli forces after this clash.
In the village of Dahariyeh, south of Hebron, Israeli forces arrested 17 Palestinians overnight and broke into offices of the Palestinian Authority and Islamic organisations, confiscating files, witnesses said.
Three Palestinians, at least two of them known activists, were killed on Wednesday in an explosion in a house in Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, witnesses said.
The Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of Palestinian factions, said two of its members were killed in the blast which wrecked a three-room house and damaged three nearby homes. Palestinian sources said Israel was behind this blast.
In Bethlehem, israeli troops shot and seriously wounded a Palestinian who came out of the Church of the Nativity Wednesday, hours before Israeli-Palestinian talks were to resume in an attempt to resolve the standoff there.
Palestinian official Salah Taamari said after emerging from an initial negotiating session Tuesday evening that there were "still some tough points" to be tackled.
Elsewhere, Palestinian officials identified three people shot dead by Israeli forces near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip as 14-year-old schoolboys, sparking angry protests in Gaza's schools.
Security officials said the Palestinians killed late Tuesday were all 14-year-old students, and that the Israeli army had not yet returned the bodies.
For their part, Israeli military sources said an army patrol spotted the three near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the central Gaza Strip and opened fire, killing them.
They said the three "were trying to enter the settlement."
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Palestinian schoolchildren demonstrated in Gaza City, calling on Islamic groups to seek vengeance on Israel for the killings.
"Revenge from Ezzedine al-Qassam," the children shouted, referring to the armed wing of Hamas. (Albawaba.com)
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