Israeli Commandos Kill Long-Wanted Palestinian Militant

Palestinian militant (search) suspected in a deadly attack on Israelis was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli commandos in the West Bank (search) town of Tulkarem on Saturday, the army said.

A 9-year-old Palestinian boy was also killed in the fighting, hospital doctors said.

Israel charges that the militant, Sirhan Sirhan, 20, was the gunman who slipped into Kibbutz Metzer, an Israeli communal farm near the West Bank, and shot dead five people, including a mother and her two small children, last November.

Sirhan, from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades— a militia loosely affiliated to Yasser Arafat's Fatah (search) faction— escaped after the attack and despite intensive efforts by Israeli forces managed to avoid capture for nearly a year.

Sirhan is not related to the assassin of the same name who shot and killed Robert Kennedy in 1968.

In three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence, dozens of Israelis have been killed by Palestinian militants infiltrating into villages and settlements.

"During an arrest attempt by the Shin Bet security service and the police special anti-terror unit, Sirhan Sirhan was shot and killed," the army said.

Tulkarem hospital officials said that 9-year-old Mohammed Eiman Barameh was killed by a bullet to the chest during the exchange between troops and gunmen. The army said it had no knowledge of the incident.

The killing of Sirhan came at the same time as a Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, killing at least 19 people.