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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 14:17 GMT
Three Palestinians shot in W Bank
People in Nablus mortuary mourn dead gunmen
The gunmen were killed in a gun battle with Israeli troops
Israeli troops have shot dead three Palestinians in the West Bank, two militants in Nablus and a teenager on the outskirts of Ramallah.

Nablus residents say the two al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members were shot during an Israeli raid into the town.

More than 12 army jeeps and a bulldozer drove into Nablus's historic market centre before dawn, sparking a gun battle with local gunmen.

The youth was crossing Israel's West Bank barrier, the army said.

The Nablus raid is the latest since a Palestinian suicide bomber killed three people in the Israeli resort of Eilat on Monday, the first in Israel in nine months.

It was claimed jointly by the al-Aqsa Brigades, which is linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Islamic Jihad.

Severed artery

Hospital officials named the dead militants as Amer Qalbuni and Wael Awad, both 21.

The Palestinian news agency, Wafa, quoted medical sources saying the Israeli troops prevented ambulances from reaching them for more than two hours, during which time they died from their wounds.

Hours later, 15-year-old Taha Qalajawi was shot by troops near the controversial barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank.

The army said soldiers had opened fire at the legs of someone cutting through the barrier fence near Qalandiya, between Ramallah and the northern suburbs of Jerusalem.

The army said troops treated Mr Qalajawi at the scene, but the shot had severed an artery. He was later pronounced dead when he was taken to hospital in Ramallah.

This account is disputed by a family member who spoke the BBC News website.

A cousin of Taha Qalajawi said he was riding a horse close to the barrier, not trying to cut through it.

She says friends were walking along with him, when he was shot. They ran away while he fell to the ground injured.

The cousin insists that he was not given any medical treatment until an ambulance arrived some time later.

Israel says the barrier is a defensive measure to secure it against militant attacks.

Opponents say the barrier - which in places extends deep into the West Bank - is an illegal move to grab territory settled by Jews since Israel captured the territory in 1967.

Palestinians try to cross it daily to find work outside besieged Palestinian towns.

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