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Israeli troops enter villages to arrest suspects

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israeli troops have entered West Bank villages to arrest suspected Palestinian terrorists, the Israel Defense Forces said.

One Palestinian was killed during an operation in Saida, northeast of Tulkarem, after Palestinians opened fire on soldiers, the IDF said.

The incursions into Saida and Jaba'a, where two activists said by the IDF to be Islamic Jihad members were arrested, comes after an attack on an Israeli settler convoy in northern Gaza that left three soldiers dead.

A fourth soldier was slightly injured in the roadside bomb attack on a tank responsible for securing a road in northern Gaza, the IDF said.

The soldiers were trying to secure the Karni-Netzarim road after an unknown number of people were injured when a civilian settler convoy, traveling with a military escort, came under attack earlier in the day, the IDF said.

The Salah al Din Brigade issued a pamphlet taking responsibility for the action, according to Palestinian sources in Gaza. The Salah al Din Brigade is part of the national resistance committees made up of Islamic Jihad and Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah members. According to the U.S. State Department, the organization has committed at least one terror attack in the past.

The Salah al Din Brigade's pamphlet said the attack was in revenge for the five Palestinian police officers killed during the recent Israel Army incursion into Palestinian towns in northern and central Gaza, a Palestinian source said.

Israel said its forces swept into those towns and held them for about 24 hours in response to the firing of two Palestinian-built Qassam-2 rockets into Israel from Gaza on Sunday. Those missiles have a range of up to eight miles and could threaten Israeli population centers; their use is seen by Israel as a major escalation in the nearly 18-month old conflict.(More on the Qassam-2)

A little more than a week ago, the Israeli military announced it had seized a shipment of eight Qassam-2 missiles as they were being smuggled by Palestinians between two West Bank cities.




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