Israeli troops have killed six Palestinians in operations in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, in one of the deadliest days in the
Israel-Palestinian conflict in nearly a year.
In a raid early Saturday in the West Bank town of Nablus, Israeli
soldiers killed three men suspected of murdering an Israeli settler.
Israel's military says the soldiers entered homes of the three men and shot them after they refused to surrender.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the raid, calling it an "escalation."
The suspects belonged to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing
of the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A funeral
procession for the three men was held Saturday in Nablus.
Also Saturday, Israeli warplanes killed three Palestinians in Gaza, near the Israeli border.
Israel's military says the three were trying to carry out a terrorist
attack. Palestinian officials say the men were collecting scrap metal.
The violence came one day before the first anniversary of the start of
Israel's three-week Gaza offensive that killed more than 1,300
Palestinians, including many militants. Thirteen Israelis also died in
Israel says the Palestinians killed Saturday in the West Bank murdered a settler (Meir Avshalom Hai) as he drove on a road linking the Einav and Shavei Shomron settlements on Thursday.
Several Palestinians groups have claimed responsibility for the attack,
including the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Palestinian security forces
rounded up dozens of suspects following the attack.
Israeli Colonel Avi Gil says the gunmen took advantage of the Israeli
military lifting roadblocks to ease restrictions on Palestinian
movement in the area.