Palestinians say at least six people, including a young boy, were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops opened fire on a group of armed Palestinians approaching the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians say at least five of the militants were killed. The army says it found explosives and assault rifles on the bodies.

An Israeli army commander called the Palestinian operation unusual, due to the large number of attackers. He says the Palestinians were planning an assault on the settlement or on a convoy of Jews traveling to the community.

The armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades jointly claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.

Palestinians say while Israeli forces were firing at the militants they also shot and killed a young boy living in a nearby village. The army says it was responding to heavy gunfire from the area.

Hours earlier, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives in a restaurant in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv. The blast killed an Israeli teenage girl.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army is continuing operations in Ramallah and other Palestinian-ruled areas of the West Bank.

The Israeli re-occupation of Ramallah went into its third day with soldiers continuing to search and arrest militants. Among those arrested are the deputy leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian and a local leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group.

Tanks and troops continue to surround Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's battered headquarters.

A curfew on the city was briefly lifted so Palestinians could leave their homes to buy food.

After winding down a large West Bank offensive last month, Israeli forces have continued patrols and staged frequent raids into Palestinian-controlled areas.

The army says it is trying to capture militants before they launch suicide bombings or shooting attacks against Israelis.