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2 Militants Killed as Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate


Violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants has escalated in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians want international intervention.

Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian militants, who were crawling toward the border fence in the Gaza Strip. Both sides confirmed that the militants were on a mission to plant bombs. One of the dead was the son of a co-founder and senior leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, Abdel Fattah Dukhan, a newly elected member of the Palestinian parliament.

Hours later, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a car carrying Palestinians, who had launched rockets across the Gaza border. The occupants fled before the vehicle exploded in flames.

In another Gaza incident, a top Hamas bombmaker was killed when a device blew up as he was training militants to prepare explosives.

Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections a month ago, and Israeli officials say these incidents are proof that the group is still involved in terrorism.

"Hamas believes in an ongoing holy jihad against the Jewish people. They're not a partner in peace," said Israeli spokesman Mark Regev.

The Gaza violence came as a major Israeli military operation continued in the West Bank town of Nablus. Nine Palestinians have been killed since the operation began on Sunday, most of them wanted militants.

"We condemn this Israeli raid. It's absolutely uncalled for. I think violence at the end of the day will breed violence," said Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of torpedoing his efforts to maintain an atmosphere of calm. He called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss what he described as Israeli violations of the year-old Mideast cease-fire.

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