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3 Israelis, 3 Palestinians Die in Shooting Incidents - 2003-04-15

Three Israelis, including a young army officer, and three Palestinians have died in violence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. At least six Israelis were injured in the separate attacks.

The first incident occurred during the night when Israeli forces surrounded a house in the West Bank town of Nablus and demanded the surrender of suspected Palestinian militants inside.

Apparently as the men came out, one of them shot and killed a young Israeli lieutenant and injured two other soldiers. The Palestinian gunman was, in turn, shot dead by the soldiers.

In a separate shooting incident in the northern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at the Karni crossing, located on the border between Israel and Gaza. The gunman killed two Israeli workers and injured several others before he was shot and killed by security forces.

Witnesses also reported that a local Islamic Jihad commander was shot and killed by Israeli troops in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers also arrested several suspected Palestinian militants overnight and destroyed the home of a Hamas militant in Hebron. The Hamas activist had been killed after a shooting incident at the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier this month.

About two-thousand Palestinians and more than 700 Israelis have been killed in violence since the Palestinian uprising began in September 2000.

The violence, arrests and house demolitions continue, despite efforts by the United States and other international mediators to re-launch efforts to stop the killing and get Israelis and Palestinians back to peace negotiations.