Israeli Soldiers Kill 5 Palestinians in West Bank Battle

Israeli troops shot and killed five Palestinians, including a 16-year-old stone-thrower, in the West Bank Tuesday, Palestinian security officials and hospital doctors said.

In the latest incident Tuesday afternoon, a militant from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and his cousin were killed by Israeli undercover soldiers, Palestinian doctors and security officials said. The military had no immediate comment.

Early Tuesday, an 18-year-old militant from the Islamic Jihad group was killed during a gunbattle with Israeli troops in the town of Qabatiyeh in the northern West Bank, the group said.

The army said one of its patrols was on an arrest raid when it was fired upon by two militants. Troops returned fire and identified hitting one of the men.

Later Tuesday, two more Palestinians were killed by army gunfire in Qabatiyeh, Palestinian security officials said. One was 16 years old. They said the two were throwing stones at the army jeeps.

The military said it fired at rock-throwers, killing one.

Also Tuesday, the Israeli military said its forces discovered a tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt near the Israeli border. The military said ht was used to smuggle weapons into Gaza. Also, two other tunnel shafts were discovered, the military said. Soldiers planned to blow them up later in the day.

The Israelis say they have discovered 13 such tunnels in the past three months. Israel charges that since it withdrew from Gaza a year ago, turning control of the border over to Egypt and the Palestinians, arms smuggling into Gaza has greatly increased.