Israeli troops killed on Sunday two Palestinian fighters who tried to place a bomb on the border fence in the southern part of Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.
In another development, Egypt will allow some 2,300 Palestinian pilgrims, who are stranded at an Egyptian port, to return to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing, al-Jazeera reported on Sunday. The Egyptian authorities had on Saturday asked the pilgrims to return home via the Israeli-controlled Karem Abu-Salem border crossing.
Many of the pilgrims said they feared arrest if they returned through the Israeli- controlled border crossing.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers have declared a ban on public rallies by the rival Fatah movement in a fresh move to tighten their hold on power. Fatah officials, however, vowed to go ahead with planned marches to celebrate the movement's 43d anniversary on January 1st. According to the AP, Hamas has been stepping up pressure on Fatah members ahead of the anniversary.