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Palestinians: Five killed in raid

Palestinian emergency service workers extinguish fires on armored personnel carriers following an attack in Gaza  

JERUSALEM -- Five Palestinian police officers were killed in an Israeli attack in the West Bank early Monday morning, Palestinian officials have said.

The Israeli army has not confirmed the deaths but says an Israeli patrol fired on an undisclosed number of armed people near the town of Beitunia near Ramallah in the West Bank.

The army could also not confirm whether any of the people were police officers, saying that the Palestinians did not identify themselves and were in an area they should not have been.


CNN's Mike Hanna: An intense escalation of violence

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A Palestinian security official said the attack was unprovoked.

Earlier, Israel launched one of its most extensive attacks in Gaza in the last seven months.

Israeli helicopters attacked Palestinian armored vehicles in Gaza City, north of Khan Yunes and near the refugee camp of Jebaliya, the Israeli army said early Monday.

"The Israeli army has attacked a few Palestinian Authority targets in reaction to continuing Palestinian terror and increasing violence during the past few days," said the Israeli army in a statement.

The Israeli army said that in a separate attack the Israeli navy fired shells on a Palestinian military observation point near a refugee camp in central Gaza.

Israeli officials said the Palestinian observation point has been used to monitor movements of the Israeli navy.

Palestinian sources confirmed the Israeli army report but had no comment about the Israelis' characterization of what led to the attack. They said the navy observation point at Nusseirat was heavily damaged, but the attack caused no casualties.

Nusseirat is in central Gaza near the Israeli settlement of Netzarim.

Israel Defense Forces issued a written statement saying the attacks would continue.

"The IDF will continue acting aggressively against those who perpetrate terrorist acts and it will not tolerate the harming of their civilians and soldiers," the statement said.

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Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israel Defense Forces
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Palestinian National Authority

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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