Israeli Troops Kill Four in West Bank

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Israeli forces killed two children and two gunmen in the West Bank on Tuesday, doctors and media reports said, and three Palestinians were sentenced to multiple life terms by an Israeli military court.

Israeli forces looking for suspected Hamas militants in Bethlehem shot two Palestinian gunmen dead after they opened fire on the soldiers from a car, Israel Radio said. Soldiers then opened fire on another car they believed was trying to run them over, killing a 10-year-old girl.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Three wounded people -- a father, mother and 15-year-old girl -- were brought to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem from Bethlehem, a hospital spokeswoman said.

In the West Bank town of Jenin, a 14-year-old boy was killed and a 12-year-old boy was seriously wounded by gunfire from an Israeli tank, doctors said. The Israeli military said they were shot while climbing on an armored vehicle to steal a machine gun.

The court sentenced the three Palestinians to consecutive life terms in prison after convicting them of involvement in fatal attacks against Israelis, the military said. Those attacks include a lynching that horrified Israelis at the beginning of the Palestinian uprising more than two years ago.

The military court near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit El said in a statement that the three belonged to an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade cell in Jenin. The group is affiliated with Fatah, the movement headed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The three carried out many shooting attacks on West Bank roads and Jerusalem, the military said.

Cell commander Mohammed Mazlah received nine consecutive life terms. The military said he was involved in an October 2000 attack on two unarmed Israeli reserve soldiers, who lost their way and entered the West Bank Palestinian town of Ramallah. A mob stormed the police station where they were taken, beat them to death and threw their bodies out a second-story window.

Another member of the cell received 16 consecutive life terms, while the third was sentenced to four consecutive life terms plus 15 years.

The military said it arrested 21 suspected Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Military sources said on condition of anonymity that one of them is Nadel Nagangiyah, a head of Tanzim -- a wing of Fatah -- in Jenin.

The sources said he was involved in dozens of gunfire and bombing attacks on Israeli forces in the Jenin area and was responsible for recruiting and distributing arms to Tanzim members.