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9 Dead in West Bank Ambush - 2002-03-03

Nine Israelis were killed and six others injured in a shooting attack Sunday when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a military roadblock in the West Bank. Another Israeli was killed in a separate shooting incident in the Gaza Strip.

In the first incident, three Palestinian gunmen positioned on a hilltop overlooking an Israeli military roadblock opened fire at soldiers and Israelis in cars.

The gunmen continued to fire at first aid workers when they arrived on the scene to treat the wounded.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a military wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction claimed responsibility for the attack near the Jewish settlement of Ofra, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Shortly after the shooting at Ofra, one Israeli was killed and four injured in another attack by Palestinian gunmen on an Israeli military position south of the Kissufim crossing in the Gaza Strip.

The shootings came one day after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in Jerusalem, killing nine Israelis, one of them an infant and several children.

The Israeli government has blamed Mr. Arafat, accusing him of giving what it called "Palestinian terrorist groups "the green light" to murder as many Israelis as possible.

In retaliatory attacks, Israeli helicopters have fired missiles at a Palestinian police station in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, setting the building on fire but causing no casualties.

At the same time, Israeli forces have pulled back from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus and another in Jenin, where it had mounted what they called "a sweep for terrorists" raids since Thursday.

At least 30 armed Palestinians were killed in the incursions and more than 200 wounded.