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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Israelis killed in Gaza shooting
Israeli snipers search for Palestinian militants around the scene of the shooting
Three groups claimed responsibility for the attack
An Israeli husband and wife have been shot dead and at least two soldiers wounded in an attack by Palestinian militants near the Gaza Strip border.

Gunmen opened fire on a car at Kissufim, a key entry point into Gaza's Israeli settlements, before two were pursued by soldiers and killed.

Earlier, Israeli authorities arrested a suspected suicide bomber planning an attack in Tel Aviv, the army said.

The shooting and arrest came as the US secretary of state visited the region.

Condoleezza Rice urged Israel not to seal the Gaza Strip following Israel's planned withdrawal from settlements next month.

She also said Palestinians must rein in militant groups planning to continue attacks against Israeli targets.

Joint attack

Israeli army sources said three gunmen opened fire at an Israeli car at the Kissufim crossing.

Israeli troops gave chase and killed two gunmen, the army said.


The road is heavily defended and will be a key route for Israeli troops carrying out the planned evacuation of some 8,000 settlers from Gaza in August.

Three militant groups, including the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and Islamic Jihad, quickly claimed joint responsibility for the attack, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The al-Aqsa group is linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has been trying to convince militants to abide by a ceasefire agreed in Egypt in February.

Earlier, Israel said it had arrested a 19-year-old suicide bomber named Jihad Shehada near the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

Officials also said they also detained another man in the town of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, reported to be helping guide the attacker to his intended target.


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