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Israeli Raids Kill 3 Palestinians in Gaza - 2003-04-06

Three Palestinians have been reported killed and 15 more wounded during Israeli army raids in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip said an eight-year-old boy was killed by Israeli army fire in a refugee camp.

Residents also said a Palestinian teenager was killed hours earlier by the Israeli forces. A member of the armed wing of Hamas was reported shot to death during an army incursion into the village of Al-Msaddar, in central Gaza.

The Israeli army said it shot the Hamas activist after he fired an anti-tank rocket.

Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, an organization dedicated to Israel's destruction, said the activist had managed to hit an Israeli tank with the rocket before being killed.

The Israeli army said it suffered no casualties, but refused comment on whether there had been any damage to one of its tanks.

During the operation, soldiers rounded up all men between the ages of 25 and 50.

The troops also took up sniper positions on rooftops and called from loudspeakers for the men to gather in the village square. Other soldiers searched houses for Palestinians suspected of carrying out violent attacks.

The Israeli army claims the village is used by Palestinian militants to fire mortar bombs at Jewish settlements and to attack Israelis with grenades and bombs.

The latest deaths brought to more than 3,100 the total number of people killed since Palestinians began an armed uprising against Israel in September 2000.