Israeli troops raid Gaza, kill three militants

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GAZA, Oct 26 (Reuters) Israeli troops killed three Palestinian gunmen in separate clashes in the Gaza Strip today as the army mounted raids into the coastal enclave, Palestinian medical and militant sources said.

The Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the territory, said one of its fighters had been killed in northern Gaza.

Islamic Jihad militants said a gunman killed near the southern town of Khan Younis belonged to their group.

Hamas said another of its men had been killed and two wounded in an Israeli air strike in support of a third party of troops that pushed into an area in the east of Gaza City, in the centre of the 45-km (30-mile) strip of Mediterranean coastline.

An Israeli army spokesman said troops had clashed with Palestinian militants in what he described as routine operations.

Palestinian militant sources said Israeli troops, accompanied by tanks and helicopter gunships, had thrust about a kilometre (half a mile) into the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops frequently conduct raids into Gaza in an effort to prevent Palestinian militants from firing short-range rockets into southern Israel. The government, which withdrew troops from the territory two years ago, said on Thursday it would start cutting power to Gaza in response to rocket fire.

REUTERS SS KP1444

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