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Mideast Violence Flares in West Bank and Gaza - 2004-07-04

One Israeli and two Palestinians have been killed in renewed violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Sunday.

An Israeli man was shot and killed, as he drove with his wife near the West Bank town of Jenin early Sunday morning. His wife was not injured, but was treated for shock.

Israel Radio said the couple's car was fired at, as they drove between the Jewish settlements of Mevo Dotan and Shaked. The two were reported to be residents of the Mevo Dotan settlement. The Israeli military ordinarily provides security escorts to settlers using the road, but news reports said the couple had not asked to be accompanied on the early morning trip.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement said the shooting was revenge for Israel's killing of an al-Aqsa West Bank commander on June 26.

Several hours before the West Bank attack, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman, who they said was trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Nablus. And in an incident just west of Jerusalem, police shot and killed a Palestinian man they said had tried to run down a police officer with a vehicle. Police said the man had been driving a vehicle carrying 10 Palestinians, who did not have permits to be in Israel. The driver was shot as he tried to flee the scene on foot.

Also on Sunday, five homemade Qassam rockets were fired toward the western Negev region of Israel. Four landed in an Israeli military zone, and the fifth hit a Palestinian Authority area. The rockets caused no injuries or damage. Last week a four-year-old Israeli boy and a 49-year-old man were killed by a Qassam rocket fired into the Israeli town of Sderot.

Also, two Palestinian youths were killed in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun on Saturday, when Israeli troops fired at stone throwers.