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Palestinian Attack Kills Four At Jewish Settlement - 2002-12-27


At least four Israelis are dead after a Palestinian gunman or gunmen opened fire inside the dining hall of a West Bank Jewish settlement.

Eight others were wounded in the shooting today (Friday) at the Otniel settlement southwest of Hebron. Israeli soldiers on the scene shot and killed one attacker and are searching for another.

The militant group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for the shooting, the first major attack by Palestinian militants in nearly a month.

It comes one day after Israeli troops shot dead at least seven Palestinians in a series of clashes across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian militant groups had vowed revenge for the killings, most of which took place in the West Bank as Israeli troops carried out a widespread hunt for militants.

Israeli troops also pushed back into the center of Bethlehem Thursday to re-impose a curfew that had been lifted during Christmas.

The Palestinian leadership has accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of escalating the violence in a bid to win votes in next month's legislative elections.

The Israeli military says its operations will continue. Israel has occupied most West Bank cities since a string of Palestinian attacks in June.

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