us and israel get out now

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    Death toll rises as Israel raids West Bank, Gaza
    Israeli troops shot dead six Palestinians including a television cameraman in a surge of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Sat*rday, witnesses and medics said.

    The new bloodshed cast a shadow over US preparations to unveil a "roadmap" peace plan once Palestinians install a reform cabinet, now delayed by a power struggle between President Yasser Arafat and prime minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas.

    Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Nablus's historic old city, encountering scores of Palestinian youths who began throwing stones, Palestinian witnesses said.

    Nazih Darwazeh, a 45-year-old cameraman for Palestinian television was struck in the face during return fire and died on the way to hospital, Reuters journalists and Palestinian medics said.

    After nightfall, more than 40 Israeli tanks and other armoured vehicles entered the Gaza refugee camp of Rafah, triggering fighting in which four Palestinians were killed and 40 wounded, witnesses and medics reported.

    Israeli military sources said the army fired on and hit three armed men in Rafah after coming under fire at the start of a new raid to root out "terror activity".

    Rafah is a stronghold of militants spearheading a two-and-a-half-year-old Palestinian uprising against Israel for an independent state.

    They said two of the dead were civilian males aged 14 and 32. The third dead man was 25 but it was not known whether he was a militant or civilian, while the fourth was a 20-year-old gunman. The wounded were both militants and civilians.

    Witnesses said army bulldozers arrived later at the homes of two Islamic militants and began demolishing one of them after calling on residents to clear out.

    Israel has a policy of razing family homes of militants in an effort to deter attacks.

    Palestinians call the practice collective punishment banned by international law.

    Israeli forces also shot dead a Palestinian gunman in a gun battle as he tried to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank near the Palestinian town of Jenin, military sources said. Two soldiers and a security guard were wounded.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said that towards the end of the operation in Nablus, an armoured vehicle got stuck near the Casbah. A crowd of Palestinians surrounded it and began throwing stones and petrol bombs.

    "A few armed Palestinians shot at our forces and threw explosive devices," Major Sharon Feingold said.

    A group of Palestinian journalists, including a Reuters cameraman and photographer, were filming the clash around the vehicle when soldiers opened fire.

    Television footage showed Darwazeh wearing a bright yellow, sleeveless jacket marked "Press" as he filmed a group of youths throwing stones at the Israeli vehicle.

    Mjr Feingold said that "our forces used non-lethal weapons to disperse them and when that didn't help they used light weapons". Witnesses in Nablus said there had been no Palestinian gunfire in the area at the time.

    She said troops arrested several wanted Palestinians, including a woman suicide bomber and her recruiter.

    At least three other journalists, including one foreigner, have been killed while covering clashes since the start of the uprising. Dozens more have been wounded.

    The army reoccupied most Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank and stepped up raids into self-ruled areas of Gaza last year after Palestinian militants carried out a wave of suicide bombings inside Israel.

    The uprising broke out in September 2000 after talks on a Palestinian state in territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war broke down.

 
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