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Three Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza clashes


Gaza : Three Israeli soldiers were killed and three others injured in armed clashes with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The clashes took place near the Nahal Oz border terminal, east of Gaza City, when Israeli troops, backed by helicopters, advanced into Gaza.

“Three soldiers were killed and three were wounded in an exchange of fire with armed gunmen who approached the security fence south of Nahal Oz,” an Israeli military spokesman told Israel Radio.

He said the clashes were still going on, adding that Israeli forces were being backed by tanks and helicopters.

Spokesmen for Hamas’ military wing say the clashes were part of a “sophisticated ambush”.

The group promised that Israel would pay “a high price” for further incursions into Gaza. It added that the Israeli military escalation targeting several areas in Gaza was aimed to pave the way for a stauncher Israeli military attack against the Palestinian resistance.

The Israeli military says its incursion into Gaza targeted Palestinian militants who carry out cross-border rocket attacks.

Four Palestinians were killed and several others wounded in Israeli overnight incursions on the eastern parts of Gaza, Palestinian sources said.

Palestinian medics said another two Palestinian civilians were injured when their house was hit by an Israeli tank shell.

Thousands of Israeli policemen and volunteers have been on high alert in different Israeli cities for the Jewish Passover.

Israeli security forces have also tightened up security measures at checkpoints and crossings.

Meanwhile, Israel arrested several Palestinians in an ongoing military operation in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli military spokesman claimed that the detainees, who belonged to Hamas, had fired mortar shells at Israeli soldiers.

Some 23 Palestinians were also arrested in other Israeli crackdowns and arrests in Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron in the West Bank.

Several Hamas members’ houses were stormed and searched during the Israeli army campaign.

Forty-nine Hamas members of parliament and former ministers have been held in Israeli jails since last year.

The military wing of Fatah, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a release that its fighters had jointly resisted Israeli occupation incursions into Gaza, using machineguns and directed explosive devices.

For its part, the Islamic Jihad Movement vowed to continue resistance against the Israeli occupiers, saying that its military wing had fired 13 rockets at Israeli towns in retaliation for continuing Israeli attacks.