Israel kills 3 Palestinians

138.jpgNABLUS (Reuters) — Israeli undercover forces killed a Palestinian shopkeeper and wounded his brother on Saturday during an apparent attempt to shoot two gunmen in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian security officials said.The soldiers, disguised as Palestinians, opened fire from a building overlooking a meat and vegetable shop in the centre of the town of Nablus when the two fighters appeared, but hit the two civilians instead, the officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israeli forces shot at a gunman armed with an assault rifle and reported hitting him.

Hours earlier, the Israeli army blew up several cement barriers that fighters had placed in Nablus to prevent Israeli vehicles from driving through the streets, witnesses said.

Nihad Masri, the acting mayor of Nablus, said a few people sustained minor injuries from the blasts in the Old City.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouthi said the army’s action in blowing up the barriers was “a new crime coming in the context of Israeli escalation against the Palestinian Authority and people”.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops had found three explosives laboratories in Nablus this year along with numerous explosive belts being prepared for suicide bombers.

“It is the capital of terrorism in the West Bank. That is why it is important for the soldiers to go in there and prevent terrorists from leaving there [to attack Israel],” she said.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has surged in recent weeks with rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes against fighters in the territory.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Saturday near the border fence with Israel, local residents and medical workers said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said soldiers fired at two Palestinians approaching the fence after they ignored shouted orders to stop and warning shots. The troops, she said, reported one of the men was hit by the gunfire.

Residents near the scene of the shooting and medical workers said the two Palestinians were killed. They identified them as workers at a garbage dump near the Israeli-built frontier fence.

On Friday, Israeli troops killed two Palestinian youths in the northern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel. An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops had shot at suspicious figures trying to plant an object close to the barrier.

The Israeli military has declared areas near the border fence, where fighters have often tried to plant explosives, no-go zones for Palestinians. Israeli troops and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005.

In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army blew up several cement barriers in a raid in the town of Nablus. The barriers were used by Palestinian fighters to prevent Israeli vehicles from driving through the streets, witnesses said.

 

Minor injuries

Nihad Masri, the acting mayor of Nablus, said a few people sustained minor injuries from the blasts in the Old City.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouthi said the army’s action was “a new crime coming in the context of Israeli escalation against the Palestinian Authority and people”.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops had found three explosives laboratories in Nablus this year along with numerous explosive belts being prepared for suicide bombers.

“It is the capital of terrorism in the West Bank. That is why it is important for the soldiers to go in there and prevent terrorists from leaving there (to attack Israel),” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli troops arrested four Palestinians in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, security sources said. They said the four men were brothers, but did not give their affiliations.

The Israeli army said that four people had been taken in for questioning for firing rockets from Gaza into Israel, but all four had been released.

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