Four Israeli soldiers have reportedly been killed when Palestinian militants blew up explosives near an army post on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Israeli sources said there were 12 casualties, while Al-Jazeera television says four troops were killed and eight wounded in the attack at the Israeli-controlled Rafah border crossing.
After setting off a 1,5 tonne bomb, militants lobbed mortar bombs and opened fire at Israeli troops evacuating the wounded, sparking a fierce gun battle that lasted for over an hour. Israeli media said two Palestinian bombers were believed to have died in the first explosion. The Palestinian militant organisation Hamas and a group known as the Fatah Hawks have claimed responsibility. A spokesman for the Fatah Hawks said the attack was in revenge for the “assassination” of President Yasser Arafat, who died a month ago of an undisclosed illness at a French hospital.