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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israeli Soldiers Sweep Camp in Hunt for Kibbutz Attacker

TULKAREM, West Bank -- Israeli troops hunting the killer of five Israelis, including a mother and her two young sons, swept through this West Bank town and an adjacent refugee camp Tuesday, demolishing the home of a local Palestinian militia leader and arresting three wanted men.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat denied Tuesday that his Fatah movement was involved in the weekend attack on Kibbutz Metzer, an Israeli communal farm near the West Bank. The gunman was sent by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to Fatah that Israel says is largely funded by Arafat, and escaped after the shooting.

The Israeli military did not say whether the attacker was caught in Tuesday's sweep. Many Al Aqsa members have gone into hiding, anticipating Israeli reprisals.

Also Tuesday, about 2,000 mourners buried 2-year-old Nafez Mashal from the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses said the toddler was killed by Israeli army fire from a nearby outpost while he was playing ball with other boys.

The Israeli army denied troops targeted children. It said soldiers came under fire and responded.

The boy's father, Khaled, said he witnessed the shooting and that it was unprovoked. Two other boys, ages 8 and 14, were moderately wounded.

The Israeli daily Haaretz, citing senior Israeli military officials, reported Tuesday that the United States has drawn clear guidelines for Israeli retaliation. According to the rules, Israel must not expel Arafat or besiege his Ramallah headquarters and must avoid operations that exert undue pressure on Palestinian civilians, the daily said. Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv declined comment.