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September 26, 2010

Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Kills 3 Palestinian Militants

Palestinian officials in Gaza say an Israeli air strike has killed three gunmen belonging to the militant Islamic Jihad group.

Palestinian medics said late Monday they recovered three bodies from the site of an explosion outside a refugee camp near the Israeli border.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the attack, saying it was aimed at a group of militants preparing to fire a rocket into Israel.  There have been many similar Israeli strikes against militants in Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

The latest violence underscored the significance of U.S.-backed Middle East peace talks launched this month.  Diplomats are trying to prevent the talks from breaking down over a dispute about Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Earlier Monday, a group of Islamic states and their allies sharply denounced Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which received two reports critical of the Jewish state's actions in Gaza.

The reports presented in Geneva detailed how Israel and the Palestinians responded to a U.N. call for them to investigate abuses during the 2008-09 Gaza fighting and an Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla in the Mediterranean four months ago.

Israel is not a member of the Human Rights Council and refused to cooperate with the reports, which were produced by three-member teams of appointed jurists.

Israel contends the Council is "obsessively biased" against the Jewish state, and that its reports prejudge Israel in a "politicized and extremist" manner.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, introduced a resolution Monday calling for continued U.N. scrutiny of Israel's activities.

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