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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Palestinians 'attack Jewish settlement'
Palestinians rioting
The attack will put more pressure on the ceasefire
Two Israeli children have been killed and several people have been injured by Palestinian gunmen in a raid on a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has said.

The army said the militants attacked the settlement of Alei Sinai in the northern Gaza Strip, shooting at residents and soldiers before entering a home.


This is a very grave incident

Lt Col Olivier Rafowicz, Israeli army spokesman
Israel's Channel Two television reports that the gunmen are holding hostages, and that a shoot-out is taking place between the gunmen and soldiers.

The attack comes hours after the expiry of an Israeli deadline for the Palestinians to implement a ceasefire, under a deal agreed last week under pressure from Washington.


The deaths are the first Israeli fatalities since Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met last Wednesday to discuss a truce.

Extra troops are reported to have been rushed to the scene of the attack, near the border with Israel.

"We heard a real gunfight in the settlement, shooting between houses, and we knew it was something unusual," resident Eli Bohadana told Israeli television.

The raid came during the Jewish holy day of Succot and is certain to put pressure on the fragile ceasefire, which both sides have accused the other of repeatedly violating.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Reynolds
reports from Jerusalem
See also:

02 Oct 01 | Middle East
Bush 'endorses' Palestinian state
30 Sep 01 | Middle East
Israel gives Arafat ceasefire ultimatum
10 May 01 | Middle East
Claiming the 'Promised Land'
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