April 19, 2008 / 7:41 AM / 11 years ago

Militants killed in attack at Gaza-Israel border

GAZA (Reuters) - A Palestinian suicide bomber and two other gunmen were killed when they attacked a border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Saturday, wounding 13 Israeli soldiers, Hamas militants and Israeli army said.

A spokesman for the militant group said the bomber, who was driving a car when he blew himself up, was killed in the attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the attack and said two other gunmen, who attacked the crossing together with the bomber, were also killed.

Hamas later said it had carried out the attack.

The spokeswoman said 13 soldiers had been wounded, two of them were in moderate condition and the rest were lightly hurt.

“The attacker approached the crossing through the heavy early morning mist, the bombing was probably intended as part of a wider attack,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the militants may have been trying to abduct Israeli soldiers.

The Kerem Shalom crossing point is used to deliver aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The spokeswoman said that some 200 trucks transfer vital goods to the blockaded coastal enclave each week.

In June 2006 Gaza militants abducted an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in a cross-border raid in a bid to use him as a bargaining chip to free Palestinian militants held by Israel.

Last week Palestinian militants attacked another border crossing where fuel is piped into the Gaza Strip, killing two Israeli civilians.

Hamas said in an earlier incident that the army killed one of their militants near the fence with Israel in central Gaza. The Israeli army confirmed that a militant had been shot in an air strike near the border in the central Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, 17 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including a Reuters cameraman, and three Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip on the bloodiest day in more than a month.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia

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