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Israeli Forces Kill 2 Armed Palestinians - 2002-10-28

Israeli forces shot and killed two armed Palestinians in an army raid on the West Bank town, Nablus. Two Israeli soldiers were also wounded. The incident followed a suicide bombing, Sunday, near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank that killed three Israeli soldiers and wounded dozens more.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing near the Jewish settlement, Ariel. Hamas identified the bomber as a 22-year-old student from the West Bank town, Nablus.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah Party, had earlier claimed responsibility for the bombing, but later recanted. Israeli military officials say three soldiers were killed trying to disarm the bomber. Witnesses say the bomber had been shot and wounded before the bomb went off.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Shaath says the Palestinian Authority opposes such suicide bombings. "We are against any action, particularly now, against civilians whether they be Israelis or Palestinians." he says. "We are for every action that will enhance our ability to go back to the peace process, which will end Israeli [military] occupation [of Palestinian areas]."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Sofer blamed the Palestinian Authority for doing nothing, while Palestinian militants continued to murder Israeli civilians. "Once again the despicable bloodletting of innocent Israelis has been unleashed by Palestinian terrorists. And [there is] absolutely no road map, no movement towards accommodation, no process of peace can ever take root, while Palestinians continue to perpetrate these type of atrocities against people going around their daily lives," says Mr. Sofer. "And, we just wonder, and cannot fail to stop wondering, what they want on earth they want to achieve by these type of barbarisms?"

In the West Bank town, Jenin, a teenage boy was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers searching for suspected Palestinian militants. Israel says many suicide attacks are launched from the town.

A curfew was imposed on Jenin, Friday, following a suicide bombing, four days earlier, in northern Israel, that killed 14 Israelis.