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Two Israelis, One Palestinian Killed in Separate Incidents Friday - 2002-07-26

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on two cars in the West Bank Friday, killing four Israelis, three of them from the same family, and wounding three other Israelis.

Israeli police said there were two separate attacks about four kilometers apart on a road just south of the West Bank town of Hebron. The road is used mostly by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers.

In another incident in the West Bank Friday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed in a confrontation with Israeli troops.

In the early morning hours of Friday, Israeli tanks and a bulldozer moved into Gaza City destroying two metal workshops and a police facility. The Israeli military says a search uncovered several rockets, which the soldiers then destroyed along with mortars and other weapons before demolishing the buildings.

Hundreds of supporters of the Palestinian militant group Hamas took to the streets Friday in Gaza, vowing revenge on Israel for its air strike late Monday that killed senior Hamas official Salah Shehade. Israel has come in for widespread international condemnation for the attack, which also killed 14 other Palestinians, most of them children.

[Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the government is making every effort to ease tensions, following the Gaza City raid. He said he knows there has been a serious escalation of violence, and he fears that innocent people on both sides will suffer as a result.]

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer defended the attack, saying Mr. Shehade had been planning what he called "a mega-attack" against Israel, packing a truck with a ton of explosives that could have killed hundreds of people.

Meanwhile, an offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement is threatening to kill top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The Popular Army Front also threatened to kill the heads of the Israeli military and security services.

The threat was broadcast late Thursday on the TV station of Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group.

And, the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last week has claimed another victim. Israel radio reported Friday that 33-year-old Dimitri Pundokov died of the wounds he received in the July 18th attack, which killed three other foreign workers and an Israeli.