Israeli troops kill two in Gaza firefight

Associated Press / May 23, 2009
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JERUSALEM - Israeli troops crossed into Gaza before dawn yesterday and killed two Palestinian militants who were planting a bomb along the border fence, the Israeli military said.

Violence has largely abated along the tense frontier since Israel's devastating offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers early this year, but sporadic border violence and rocket fire have continued.

Soldiers posted along the border spotted the two men and crossed into Gaza to engage them, the military said.

The military said the men were carrying rifles, grenades, and an improvised explosive device. Militants have often used such devices to target Israeli military patrols along the border, planting bombs under cover of darkness and detonating them later by remote control.

The men belonged to Islamic Jihad, according to the group's website.

Hours later, militants detonated a bomb near an Israeli patrol jeep along a different section of the fence. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility in an e-mail sent to reporters.

The military said there were no Israeli casualties in either situation.