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      Six Terrorists Killed In and Around Gaza

      Six terrorists were killed since last night, thwarting three attempted attacks on Israelis. One Israeli officer was wounded.
      First Publish: 10/18/2004, 3:17 PM / Last Update: 10/18/2004, 10:30 AM

      Six terrorists were killed last night and this morning, thwarting three attempted attacks against Israelis. In one incident, early this morning, two armed Palestinian terrorists infiltrated an orchard near Kibbutz Holit, south of the Gaza Strip - despite the presence of a protective fence around the entire Gaza area. The residents of the kibbutz were warned to stay indoors, and IDF forces went into action. They surrounded the area where the terrorists were sighted, and exchanged fire with them for an hour and a half - until the terrorists were finally killed. According to one report, one terrorist was wearing or holding an explosive belt, and was killed when it exploded. No Israelis were hurt.

      The commanding officer later said that the terrorists were armed with rifles, grenades and explosives, and that they had managed to place explosives in the path they assumed the Israeli troops would take. "It took an hour and a half," he said, "but we closed in on them and acted with caution until we got them."

      This was the third time in the past several weeks that terrorists crossed the fence surrounding Gaza. In one of the cases, Shula Batito, 36, of Nisanit and Sgt. Victor Ariel, 20, paid with their lives.

      Shortly after the incident near Holit, an IDF officer was moderately wounded when Arab fire was opened on an Israeli force heading northwards towards the Kisufim entrance to southern Gaza. The Israeli force returned fire, and found the bodies of the two attackers shortly afterwards. The officer, wounded in the thigh, was taken to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

      Another pair of terrorists was killed in southern Gaza, near the Israeli-Egyptian border, when IDF forces sighted them attempting to place an explosive. The two terrorists took the same route as the 13-year-old Arab girl whose death several days ago aroused a tempest. She was killed by the soldiers, who assumed that she was a terrorist. "No one who has not been a terrorist has used that route in years," soldiers said, and it is assumed that she was sent by the terrorists to test the soldiers' response. Some of the soldiers accused their commander of pumping extra bullets into the girl's body - but an IDF investigation has found these allegations to be untrue.

      Palestinian terrorists launched two mortar shells at N'vei Dekalim today. No one was hurt in the explosions.