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2 Killed in Separate Incidents in Gaza - 2003-05-07

A Palestinian toddler was killed by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip, during a gun battle Wednesday between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. Shortly afterwards, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian militant who was on a terrorist mission in another part of Gaza.

Palestinian doctors say a one-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in the refugee camp in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army expressed regret for the death of the infant.

Israeli army spokesman, Jacob Dalal, said soldiers at an outpost that guards nearby Jewish settlements had come under attack from Palestinian militants and returned fire.

Later, another Palestinian was shot and killed in Gaza.

Hamas, a militant Islamic group that carries out frequent terror attacks, says that one of its activists was killed during an operation in northern Gaza.

The area is close to another group of Jewish settlements that are often the target of attempted infiltrations by Palestinian militants.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Hamas fugitive was killed in an explosion at a house on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Hamas blamed Israel but local firefighters said that the blast went off inside the house, ruling out the possibility of an Israeli missile attack.

Israeli military officials denied that any troops had been operating in the area at the time of the explosion.

Israeli Radio quoted one senior army officer as saying that the militant might have been killed by an accidental blast caused by explosives he was preparing for a terror attack.

The latest violence comes ahead of an expected visit to the area by Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who wants to urge both sides to adopt a new international plan to end their conflict.

The plan, a so-called "road map" toward peace, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005. It is supported by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.