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Palestinian Militant Killed in Israeli Air Strike


Palestinian witnesses say Israeli helicopters have carried out an air strike along the border with the Gaza Strip, killing a Palestinian militant and wounding two others.

An Israeli army spokesman says the helicopters opened fire early Saturday after spotting militants trying to plant a bomb near the border fence.

Militants identified the dead man as a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Witnesses said Israeli tanks also moved into the area near the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, but the army denies it.

In the West Bank Saturday, Israeli fire wounded a Palestinian militant commander in the town of Jenin.

A ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza has largely held since November, but some Palestinian militant groups have continued firing rockets into Israel.

Israel's defense minister, Amir Peretz, said a few days ago he authorized the army to take limited action against Palestinian militants in Gaza if they threaten Israeli soldiers and citizens.

In other news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told French television Friday that militants in the Gaza Strip will soon release a captured Israeli soldier.

Mr. Abbas said in an interview with France 24 that the Palestinian government has been working for the release of the soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

The Palestinian president also pressed Israel to free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, but he said that is a separate issue from Shalit's release.

Shalit's abduction in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants last June sparked a major confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians.

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

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