BETHLEHEM, West Bank, (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian militants after a standoff near the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, Palestinian witnesses and the Israeli army said.
An army spokeswoman said two Islamic Jihad gunmen were shot and killed when they resisted arrest and shot at troops from within a cave where they were hiding.
Violence has continued in the West Bank and Gaza Strip while Israel has also been fighting Hizbollah guerrillas. A five-day-old ceasefire in the war in Lebanon has largely held.
Three Palestinian militants from the armed wing of the governing Hamas Islamist group died in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday while they were preparing a bomb, local security officials said.
The Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades described the men as engineers, the term it uses for bomb-makers.
Earlier, an Israeli air strike destroyed a building in the Gaza Strip where the army said militants were making rockets, wounding at least one.
An Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip aims to recover a captured soldier and put a stop to cross-border rocket fire. Nearly 180 Palestinians, about half of them militants, have been killed.