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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Four militants killed in Gaza
Emergency services at the scene of the blast
Yasser Arafat has condemned attacks against Israeli civilians
At least four Palestinian gunmen have been killed trying to carry out an overnight attack near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip - hours after another suicide bombing in Israel.

Two militant groups say it was a joint operation.

Earlier, an eight-year old Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli tank shells in a nearby village.

The renewed violence in Gaza followed Tuesday evening's suicide bombing north of Tel Aviv, which killed a teenage girl and injured about eight others.

The blast in Herzliya ripped through a small restaurant, but the bomber had not fully entered the premises and not all his explosives went off.

Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority has once again condemned attacks on civilians inside Israel, but the BBC's Caroline Hawley in Gaza says almost all Palestinians see soldiers and settlers as legitimate attacks because they are on occupied land.

Promise of more

The al-Aqsa Brigades - a radical offshoot of Mr Arafat's Fatah faction - and the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine - said the Gaza attack was a joint operation against an Israeli army position guarding the Netzarim settlement.

Israeli forces patrol in Ramallah on Tuesday
Israeli forces have continued operations in the West Bank

They said five of their men died, and promised to escalate actions until Israel pulls out of occupied territory.

According to the Israeli army, seven gunmen were involved in the attempted attack.

Late on Tuesday, Israel announced the arrest in the West Bank town of Ramallah of the deputy leader of the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), whom it named as Abdul Rahim Mallouh.

Palestinian sources confirmed that Mr Mallouh - who is also a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation - was picked up at his home along with two other men.

The PFLP's leader, Ahmed Saadat, is already in jail in the West Bank town of Jericho under international guard.

Bush's 'vision'

Tuesday's violence took place as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was in Washington putting his case for taking a strong line with Palestinians in response to continued suicide attacks.

Mr Sharon is due to have talks on Wednesday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on his way back from Washington.

The US is continuing its consulations on the Middle East, with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal expected later this week for talks with President Bush.

After this, the US president is expected to outline his "vision of how to move forward", US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.


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