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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Militants die in West Bank battle
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Nablus
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are linked to the president's Fatah
Two Palestinian militants have been killed in a fire fight with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, Israel's army and the militants' group said.

The incident took place in the city of Nablus during what the Israeli military said was a routine operation.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to the Palestinian Authority president's Fatah faction, confirmed the deaths.

Israel has made a number of raids into the West Bank this year targeting militants and their weapons.

Cesspool collapse

An Israeli military spokeswoman said: "A group of gunmen opened fire at forces operating in the Nablus area and a gun battle ensued in which two of the gunmen belonging to Fatah were killed."

Al-Aqsa said there had been an exchange of fire in which one militant was killed. A second member was shot when he went to help the first, the group said.

Palestinian officials have accused the Israelis of unprovoked aggression in their raids into the West Bank.

Nablus is the West Bank's second-largest city and formerly a commercial hub. Israel says it is a militant stronghold.

Separately, Palestinian officials said a large cesspool had collapsed in the small village of Umm Naser in the north of the Gaza Strip, killing at least one person.

Raw sewage swept through the village, knocking down makeshift houses and leaving a number of villagers wounded and more unaccounted for, they said.

The village has a population of about 3,000.




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