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Israel-Palestinian Violence Escalates in West Bank and Gaza


There has been a surge of violence between Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, four Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip, while an Israel town came under rocket fire.

Israeli undercover troops fired at a car in the West Bank town of Jenin, killing three Palestinian militants. The army said troops came under fire and shot back, but Palestinians said it was an ambush.

Earlier, soldiers raided a nearby village and another Palestinian was killed in a gun battle. It was the highest West Bank death toll in three months, and brought angry reaction from Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat. "We condemn this Israeli raid. It's absolutely uncalled for, we don't need to go back to the cycle of violence," he said.

A few hours later, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched several rockets at the Israeli border town of Sderot. One rocket hit on a house but no one was hurt.

In response, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile that hit at a car near the rocket launch site. Israeli spokeswoman Miri Eisen. "What Israel is going to do is to protect our citizens against the continuous violations of the cease-fire by the Palestinian factions who want the ceasefire to end," she said.

The ceasefire in Gaza went into effect in late November, bringing a sharp reduction in violence. But the latest round of tit-for-tat attacks has raised fears that the truce could collapse.

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