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Israeli Soldiers Kill Two Palestinians in West Bank


Palestinian security officials say Israeli troops have shot dead two Palestinians in the West Bank.

Officials say the local head of the militant Popular Resistance Committees was killed Monday in a shootout with soldiers. They say a woman who rushed to help the militant was also shot dead. It was unclear if the woman was armed.

An Israeli army spokesman said the soldiers, who were patrolling the village of Qabatiya, near the city of Jenin, had come under fire.

Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip Sunday under a ceasefire agreement with Palestinian militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday he hoped the ceasefire could also apply to the West Bank.

Palestinian militant groups have demanded Israel halt attacks in all Palestinian territories.

Israel has said it will continue to defend itself against militant rocket attacks.

The Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post quotes spokesman Abu Obaidah of Hamas's armed wing as saying any Israeli assault in the West Bank will be viewed as a violation of the ceasefire agreement. The newspaper says the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Mr. Abbas's Fatah faction, issued a similar threat.

Israel had pulled its soldiers and settlers out of the Gaza Strip last year. But troops moved back into the area in June when Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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