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Six Hamas militants killed in Israeli operation

Five Hamas militants were killed in a pre-dawn Israeli operation in the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Hamas and Palestinian medical officials said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An Israeli military strike in central Gaza has killed six Hamas militants.

The Israeli army has confirmed that troops were operating "against the terror infrastructure" in the area near Gaza City. Officials say ground troops and Israeli aircraft fired at gunmen who approached the soldiers.

Palestinians say another Hamas militant was killed in an earlier Israeli attack in Gaza. The Israeli military says it targeted armed Palestinians.

The Israeli army conducts almost nightly raids into the Gaza Strip against Palestinian militants who launch rockets into southern Israel. Dozens of militants have been killed in such operations recently.

Meantime, the Israeli defense minister says Israel's network of roadblocks will remain in place across the West Bank. His comments have increased tensions just days before President Bush visits the region.

Israeli construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and among Palestinians themselves, threaten to overwhelm Bush's peace efforts.