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Israeli Troops Kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza Strip - 2004-08-02

Israeli troops have shot and killed three Palestinians attempting to attack a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. The incident on Monday came as Israeli forces also moved against a refugee camp in the territory in a bid to halt Palestinian mortar fire. Israeli forces opened fire, killing three Palestinians approaching the Jewish settlement of Alei Sinai early Monday in the northern Gaza Strip.

According to media reports, the Palestinians apparently planned to carry out an attack using bombs and automatic weapons. Kalashnikov assault rifles were found on two of the men and the third man was reportedly killed when the explosives he was carrying detonated.

A joint announcement from the groups Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for an attempted attack on the settlement.

The groups, both listed by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations, said the three Palestinians had been killed in what they described as a heroic operation.

The incident occurred as Israeli forces operating in southern Gaza entered the Khan Younis refugee camp.

The Israeli army said the raid is aimed at destroying buildings used by Palestinians to fire mortars and rifles at a nearby Jewish settlement.

Residents said during the incursion a woman was killed after being hit by a bullet that came through the window of her home.

In a separate incident on Monday, two explosions rocked the central prison in Gaza City, wounding at least seven prisoners. Four of the injured are Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israeli intelligence and one is facing the death sentence.

Palestinian police said the blasts came from homemade grenades tossed into the prison sleeping quarters.