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Israel Kills Two Hamas Commanders in West Bank Raid

Israeli soldiers inspect the body of senior Hamas militant Nashad al-Karmi, in the West Bank city of Hebron, 08 Oct 2010

Israel has settled scores with Palestinian militants who were held responsible for a deadly attack. The incident occurred at a crucial point in the peace process.

Israeli troops raided a house in the West Bank town of Hebron and killed two commanders from the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Soldiers surrounded the house before dawn and then pummeled it with a hail of bullets.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said the Hamas gunmen were responsible for the killing of four Jewish settlers, including a pregnant woman, on the eve of new peace talks five weeks ago.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement saying that the raid was "a quick response to the murder of the four Israelis." He said Israel would "continue to act with determination, in any place, against terrorist organizations."

Hamas described the Israeli raid as an execution. Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank of collaborating with the Israeli occupation.

He said the incident shows that Israel does not want peace, and he called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stop negotiations.

The raid occurred as Mr. Abbas was in Libya to discuss a crisis in the peace process with the Arab League. The Palestinians are threatening to quit the peace talks after Israel ended a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction two weeks ago. Israel is considering an American proposal to extend the moratorium for two more months, in exchange for security guarantees from the United States.