Israeli and two Palestinians die in shootings


An Israeli settler in the West Bank, a militant trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement and a Palestinian pursued by police in a Jerusalem car chase were killed today.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group within Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for killing the settler in a roadside ambush of his car near the West Bank city of Jenin.

The brigades called the shooting revenge for Israel's killing of its West Bank leader in a raid on June 26th.

Several hours earlier soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman who the army said was trying to infiltrate the settlement of Har Bracha near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Residents of his village said he belonged to the militant Islamic Jihad group.

In Jerusalem, paramilitary border police in civilian clothes shot dead a Palestinian after chasing his vehicle, which they suspected was carrying Palestinians without entry permits, a police spokesman said.

"The van tried to run down one of the policemen...and then pulled over and stopped. The driver got out and fled on foot. Police fired in the air, and when he didn't stop, shot towards him. He was fatally wounded," he said.

Israel Radio said police had launched an internal investigation of the incident.

In confrontations with stone-throwers in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun yesterday, Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian boys aged nine and 15, medics said.

Israeli troops have been operating in Beit Hanoun since a rocket that militants fired from the area killed a 3-year-old Israeli boy and a man aged 49 in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Monday.

Military sources have said the soldiers could remain in northern Gaza for months to prevent further rocket attacks. Palestinian militants fired several makeshift rockets towards southern Israel today, causing no casualties.