Two Palestinians threw grenades at an Israeli bus in the Gaza Strip on Monday and were shot dead by Israeli troops, and an Islamic Jihad activist was killed in an explosion in the West Bank.
In the Gaza incident, the two attackers charged the bus as it left the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, a senior army officer said. Troops opened fire, killing the assailants. A pistol and six more grenades were found on the bodies, said the officer, who gave only his first name, Yoel. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
In a valley near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Islamic Jihad fugitive Raami abu Bakr was killed and another activist, Fuad Ahmed, was wounded in an explosion. Ahmed said they were hit by an Israeli missile. The Israeli military said that the two were trying to fire a shoulder-mounted missile at an army fuel tanker and that the weapon blew up.
Meanwhile Monday, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of the militant group Hamas, rejected a call by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to halt attacks on Israeli civilians in the run-up to Israel's Jan. 28 election and suggested that his organization might kidnap Israelis as ransom for Palestinian prisoners.
"Our enemies will free our prisoners only by force," Yassin said after a meeting with Hisham Abdel Razak, a Palestinian Cabinet minister whose portfolio covers Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.