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Israeli Soldier and Palestinian Man Die in Separate Clashes


An Israeli soldier has been killed in a clash with Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. He is the first Israeli soldier to die in combat since November.

An Israeli army spokesman said the soldier died Thursday during an Israeli incursion into the Palestinian territory to reduce the capacity of "terrorists" to attack Israel. He said two other soldiers were lightly injured.

Hamas's armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades said its militants ambushed the Israeli troops and detonated two large mines as the Israeli patrol neared the Bureij refugee camp. The Israeli patrol included several tanks and two bulldozers backed by helicopters.

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza last month, said an Israeli airstrike wounded two Palestinians.

Also Thursday, the Israeli military said it shot and killed an armed Palestinian man who opened fire at a West Bank checkpoint, near the town of Tulkarem.

An Israeli spokesman added that the man appeared to be wearing an explosive belt.

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