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Arab-Israeli Violence Claims More Victims

An Israeli settler has been shot and killed in the Gaza Strip. Israeli police also carried out a controlled detonation of a bomb found in a busy shopping center in the coastal town of Netanya.

Israel radio said an Israeli civilian was killed when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle he was riding in near the Gush Katif group of settlements in the southern Gaza Strip.

The man was identified as Yitzhak Arama, the chief rabbi of Netzer Hazani, one of the three small settlements that make up Gush Katif.

The Associated Press says it received a call from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces safely detonated an explosive device they found near a shopping mall in the coastal city of Netanya, just north of Tel Aviv.

Security officials said a passerby spotted the bomb and notified authorities. Netanya has been a frequent target for terror attacks by Palestinian militants, partly because of its close proximity to the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

In May of 2001, five people were killed in a suicide attack at the same shopping mall.

Earlier Friday, two Palestinians were killed during a firefight between Israeli troops and armed gunmen in the central Gaza Strip.

The fighting broke out when the gunmen opened fire on Israeli troops as they set about demolishing the home of a suspected Palestinian militant.

A Palestinian man was killed when the minibus he was riding in was stuck by an Israeli tank late Thursday in the West Bank town of Jenin. Palestinian sources said the collision was accidental, but the minibus driver said the tank deliberately crashed into his vehicle.

Also Thursday, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl was shot to death in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, during a gunfight between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians.

She was the third youth to be killed this week by Israeli soldiers in the southern Gaza Strip towns of Rafah and Khan Younis.