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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
Al-Aqsa 'rivals' die after gunbattle
Masked gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
The group has attacked soldiers, settlers and civilians
Rival members of a militant Palestinian group, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, have died after a gun battle in the West Bank town of Tulkarm, say Palestinian security officials.

The officials said one gunman - apparently a local leader of the group - was killed during the battle on Saturday. The other was wounded and taken to hospital, where he was subsequently shot dead by other gunmen.

The exact motive for the killings remains unclear, but the officials said they believed it involved a dispute between two rival factions over control of the group.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a radical offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement and is considered to be the main secular group involved in the intifada against Israel.

It is neither officially recognised nor openly backed by Mr Arafat and Fatah.

Earlier on Saturday, two Palestinian teenagers were wounded in clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians near the West Bank town of Nablus, Palestinian hospital officials and witnesses said.

A 15-year-old was in serious condition after being hit in the chest by Israeli gunfire, the officials said.

They said that a 12-year-old boy was also wounded - less seriously - by rubber-coated bullets.

Israeli troops said they had come under fire while on patrol, and had stones and firebombs thrown at them.


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SEE ALSO:
Profile: Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
01 Jul 03  |  Middle East


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