Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza gunbattles

Thursday, October 26th 2006, 10:26 am
By: News On 6

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians in exchanges of gunfire Thursday in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said.

One Palestinian, a policeman, opened fire on Israeli troops operating in southern Gaza, wounding a soldier, the army said. Troops fired back, killing the security man and wounding a second person, the Palestinian officials added. The Palestinians later reported a second man killed by troops in the same area. The army said it was checking that report.

The dead policeman was a member of the National Security force, which is loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a spokesman said. Although the force does not normally battle Israeli troops, it appeared the policeman did not identify the armed people as soldiers, the spokesman said.

The Israeli army has been operating in Gaza since late June after Palestinian militants tunneled into Israel and captured an Israeli soldier. Its recent operations have been focused on halting the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into southern Gaza.