GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian gunman in a clash along the Gaza-Israel border Tuesday morning, the Israeli army and a Palestinian terror group said.
Abu Khassan, an Al Aqsa commander, told The Associated Press that the group's gunmen detonated a bomb when an Israeli patrol passed by, blowing a hole in the border fence. One gunman was killed by the Israeli troops when he crossed the fence into Israel, Abu Khassan said.
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Abu Khassan claimed that one of the Israeli jeeps was damaged and set on fire by the blast, and that Israeli soldiers were wounded.
The army denied that any soldiers had been wounded. Soldiers along the border spotted two Palestinian militants planting a bomb along the fence and opened fire, the army said, and one of the Palestinians was killed in the exchange of fire. It declined to say whether the border fence was damaged.
The incident was the first time Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen have clashed in Gaza since rival Palestinian factions reached a power-sharing arrangement last week in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. The deal struck by Fatah and the Islamist Hamas group is meant to end months of internal violence that has left more than 130 Palestinians dead.
In a separate incident Tuesday, Israeli soldiers along the border with northern Gaza shot and wounded two Palestinians who approached the fence, the army said. When the Palestinians did not heed calls to leave the area, soldiers fired at their legs, the army said. Similar incidents have been common in recent months.
No Palestinian confirmation was immediately available.
In late November, Israel and the Palestinians declared a truce in the Gaza Strip, and Israel called off its military operations there. The truce has been marred by sporadic shootings along the border fence and by nearly daily Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.
The army said the bomb planted by the Al Aqsa militants Tuesday was the 18th one uncovered along the Gaza-Israel border since the cease-fire.
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